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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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