Are you currently evaluating software for your business?
Use this checklist to ensure you tick the key boxes:
- Investment in Research & Development: Check vendor’s investment in technology and R&D. It demonstrates the vendor’s commitment to the product and possibly a better product for you in the future.
- Frequency of release: Check how often new releases are available. It means how often you will receive updates and requirements to test the latest version of the software.
- Upgrade process: Understand the process to upgrade the software to the latest version.
- Ability to customise: Understand the flexibility of software to customise based on business needs.
- Integration ability and support: Understand existing plugins, interfaces, APIs to integrate new/existing software in your organisation.
- Data migration: Assess the tools available to extract, map, clean and upload data to the software.
- Scalability: Check if the software is scalable to future business needs. For example, if the software supports different geographical locations and languages.
- Mobility: Identify your current and future mobility requirement. Identify how software satisfy mobility needs.
- Platform dependence: For on-premise software, identify its hardware and software requirements. For cloud-based deployments, check types and versions of browsers supported by software.
- Support for clients: Identify types of clients the software support (Thin client, Rich client, Fat client). Does that meet your needs?
- Third-party products: Develop good understanding of third products that the vendor is proposing within the solution. Understand costing and support mechanisms.
- Interface and Usability: Evaluate interface and usability. How easy is to navigate on the system?
- Security: Does the software satisfy your security needs?
- Multilingual support: Check for multilingual capabilities is you will be using the software in diverse geographic locations.
- Social and networking capabilities: Check for Web 2.0 style collaboration tools and features within the software
- System help and training: Check available system help for self-learning. Check for training courses and certifications provided by the vendor. The training can range from how-to guides to system configuration certification/courses. Compare delivery method of training and associated costs.
- Support: Check available options for first and second line of support. Check available support options for different geographic locations and time zones. Compare cost for different support models.
- Reporting capabilities – Check in-build reporting capabilities and dependence on other platforms, e.g. Cognos, Crystal Reports and Microsoft reporting services.
- Vendor’s Business case: Understand the critical motivation of sale from the software vendor. For example, if the driver of the deal is profit on licenses, consulting services, cross-sell other product or strategic selling to enter a new market. If you have clarity about the Supplier Business Case, you can negotiate and have a better relationship with the supplier.
- Financial position: Assess the financial stability of the vendor. If it is listed company, then assess stock and other leading indicators.