Selecting Software to run your business – 2

As mentioned in the last blog, there is any number of packages that are available to do some or all of what you want the business to do. Whether that is to track Goods-in-Transit, Maintain Financial Records, Generate a Sales Catalogue, Create and send an email blast, Retain Customer Information, Track needed Repairs or Write a Document, there are many choices and all the choices have their advantages and disadvantages. Some are cheap, others expensive. Some provide functionality you will never use, others will leave you wishing the software did more.

If you are facing this conundrum, there is a solution. There are methods to evaluate what you need, then to evaluate what is available and then to finally bring the two together to make a quantified decision about what to buy (or build).

The high level process is:

    1. Survey all the areas in your organisation that will be affected by the new software.
    2. Document the stated requirements from each group and give them weights (example follows).
      • Must have = 5.
      • Note: Any technical requirements that cannot be changed are given a 5 or you can simply set them up as initial questions and remove anyone not matching them.

      • Should have = 4.
      • Nice to have = 3.
      • Minimal need = 2.
      • Unimportant = 1.
      • Not relevant = 0.
    3. Create a scorecard based on the above.
    4. Survey the existing tools (there are many sites on the internet).
    5. Select the top 4 and bring in the vendors for a demonstration.
    6. Fill in the scorecard.
    7. Bring in the two highest scorers for a more indepth presentation.
    8. Make your selection knowing with certainty that you have made the best choice.

    Now comes the more interesting part: Implementation. That is a subject for the next blog.

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