When It Comes to Buying Big Software…

Taking responsibility for an enterprise-class software
purchase and implementation can be stressful. All those people. All that money.
All those expectations. TechRepublic’s Patrick
Gray
has a few useful suggestions
for buying big software packages wisely
.

His top four tips:

  1. Buy based on the
    business case:
    Evaluate your software decision in light of the business
    case that triggers its purchase, and demand the vendor demonstrate how its software will support your key business processes.
  2. Factor in all the
    costs:
    The best way to get a handle on costs is to investigate past
    large implementations at your company. Look at the amount of customization that
    was required versus what was expected, and use that to extrapolate
    implementation costs.
  3. Get "real"
    references:
    Insist on talking with current and past customers of the
    provider. Past customers that the vendor provides were likely successful
    implementations, but currently implementing customers represent more valuable
    feedback, since the jury is still out.
  4. Stack the team in
    your favor:
    Ensure your team retains control of scoping decisions, and
    don’t shy away from bringing in an impartial advocate to evaluate the project
    team’s structure, checks, and balances before the implementation even starts.

Always take your time, do the research, and seek out experts
other than the people trying to sell you the solution. After all, with software
this big and this pricey, it’s guaranteed that you’ll be living with it for
years to come, so getting it right the first time will save you lots of pain
down the road.

— Don Willmott

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