The selection panel is often biased!

Visioning and Selection

It is common practice to form a selection panel for enterprise software selection. The selection panel typically comprises senior managers of different departments, such as finance, professional services, procurement, and sales.

Being on a panel is a big responsibility. The panel’s feedback helps us decide on the software product and implementation partner.

However, the selection panel is often biased, and their feedback directly affects the quality of decisions.

Here are a few common biases:

  1. I love the vendor demonstration: Here, the panel members may sway towards the vendor based on the quality of the demonstration. So, the vendor will likely get a higher preference due to their demonstration skills and not necessarily the product or service.
  2. The software is clunky: The panel members may find the new software clunky simply because the product has slightly different navigation. The product may have a modern user interface. However, panel members find it confusing because it is merely different.
  3. The software is very flexible: The implementation partner has sold on the software’s flexibility capability. Flexibility may also mean additional customisations, cost and complexity. It also means relatively fewer out-of-the-box features. But, the panel may ignore it.
  4. The software does not do a little unimportant thing: Here, the panel may give so much weight to little things and lose track of the big picture.
  5. Previous love: If the influential members of the panel have used specific software in prior jobs, they like to push for the same product in the selection too.
  6. Previous hate: If panel members have experienced poorly implemented software, they may assume the problem is in the software itself. However, the problem could quite possibly be in the implementation. They may continue to reject the product because it was poorly implemented before and for utterly unknown reasons.
  7. Shiny stuff: The panel gets carried away by the product’s advanced beta features, such as mobility, AI, advanced reporting, forecasting, and IoT.

We may want to think we are rational thinkers.

It is not very likely. By understanding, acknowledging, and being aware of our biases, we can better serve our organisation and do justice with vendor selection.