Are you currently evaluating software for your business?
Chances are that you need some help! To successfully select software you need to see from different viewpoints. The following list will help you:
Checklist for packaged software selection:
- Investment in Research & Development: Check vendor’s investment in technology and R&D on ongoing bases. This shows commitment from vendor and possibly better product for future.
- Financial position: Check financial stability of the vendor, stock and other leading indicators to insure vendor’s financial stability.
- How frequently new releases (major/minor) are available: Check how frequently new releases are available. It shows vendor’s commitment to its product.
- How you can upgrade software: Do you need human intervention for the software upgrades or scheduled upgrades are organised by the vendor?
- Ability to customise: Understand flexibility of each software in terms on customisation. Understand at which level customisation can be made. It can be at user interface layer (front screens, layout and fields logic), business logic layer (implement business rules), database layer (add new fields, change properties of existing fields), source code layer (this is changing the source code)
- Integration ability and support: Understand existing plugins, interfaces, APIs to integrate new/existing software in your organisation.
- Data migration: Tools available to extract, map, clean and upload data to the software.
- Scalability: Check if software is scalable to the future business needs. Can it support more users, multiple geographical locations, changes in business processes, business models etc.
- 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.
- Clients available – Identify which types of clients are supported by software (Thin client, Rich client, Fat client). Does that meet your needs? For example, if software application only offers Thin client. So, is only works with browser, then users would not be able to work offline. If your business has a need for ability to work-offline. Like technicians needs access to work on systems when they are no remote sites (with no internet connection). In this case, software would not support business need.
- What is the Supplier Business case: It is important to understand why supplier is selling you software. Supplier may not be open to you. However, it is important to know if supplier is making a sale to sell you software, consulting services, cross-sell another software, strategic selling to enter another market. If you have clarity about Supplier Business Case, you can negotiate and have better relationship with the supplier.
- Existing partners of software vendor: Develop good understanding on Vendor Vs Third party products that vendor is proposing. 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 software in diverse geographic locations.
- Social and networking capabilities: Check for Web 2.0 style collaboration tools and capabilities within software
- System help and training: Check available system help for self learning. Check for training courses and certifications provided by 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 like Cognos, crystal reports, Microsoft reporting services etc.