When embarking upon a software selection process it is imperative that you determine the correct business objectives, and why you are looking to implement a system in the first place. We have seen cases where companies buy a software application for one main feature that's needed but which fails to meet many other requirements. Typically, in such a short-sighted buying process, the organization only uses a fraction of the functionality the system is capable of delivering, usually about 15 percent.
The consulting company charged with doing the software evaluation must have the capabilities to differentiate the types of software in the market and apply that knowledge to alignment of business initiatives. The consulting company must also build the appropriate procedures to evaluate current and future requirements and walk its client through prioritization of those needs in terms of organizational importance and how they integrate with each other. It is this step that organizations often miss - and that leads to IT failure. The application purchased often cannot deliver the depth of functionality for a specific requirement or the agility required by the business to respond to changing needs if not properly defined.
This often leads to overselling where organizations buy too much for what they need and do not utilize the full functional capabilities of the system. Our research illustrates that 65 percent to 75 percent of companies do not use their ERP system to its maximum performance capabilities. In many cases, organizations are unaware of these feature/functions and are surprised that they have something that has already been paid for but not in use. The issue of not recognizing features or business requirements is fundamental in selecting the correct software for your company.
Pointed solutions are growing to incorporate many new and complementary functions, which confuses the decision process even more. Many applications, such as CRM, have grown to incorporate social media, collaboration, business analytics, marketing automation, and customer service/help desk functionality while project management applications now have collaboration, billing, resourcing and some CRM capabilities folded in.
An impartial software evaluation process must consider non-tangible and tangible aspects, strategic organizational fit, proper requirements gathering and prioritization, budget formulation, vendor viability, implementation/consulting cost, a documented, structured evaluation process and project scope. The software evaluation process should arm your organization with the correct and up-to-date decision-support information to achieve project success. A proper evaluation process can sometimes identify red flags with potential vendors and solutions and save the headache of implementing the wrong solution.
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