Business Strategy: How to Evaluate New Software Systems for Your Organization
• Your organization’s internal network bandwidth and Internet bandwidth may not support current business activities, such as sending large files to vendors.
• Integration with other local applications may be difficult.
• Highly customized modifications may not be easy or available.
If purchasing from an outside vendor, ask questions such as:
• Does the software meet your needs and provide the functionality you want? Is it compatible with your current systems, or will you have to replace them?
• Is the prospective vendor responsive and does he ask about your business rather than tell you about his? How is the vendor’s follow-up?
• What support is offered? How long does it take to get to your request?
• What hardware needs are there for the software? Will your current hardware support the new software or do you have to upgrade/change your servers and/or other equipment to suit?
• Does your IT staff need to be retrained? What is the time line for proficiency?
• What is the cost of the new software, hardware, support, and what ancillary costs are there such as modifications defined in a gap analysis between the old and the new systems, data-conversion expense and vendor-consulting estimates?
• Do you have in-house staff capable of managing the project from your side?
Step 2. Evaluate critical success factors.
When taking on a software analysis, you must ask: What ultimately constitutes success for the project? There are a number of possible answers:
• Software is purchased and installed, and is satisfactory.
• The project comes in within budget and within an acceptable time frame.
• Management’s and end-users’ needs are fulfilled.
• The native culture of the company is not compromised, but enhanced.
• The problems that drove the software search are resolved.
• The organization is generating information in a timely and effective way that allows it to position itself better against the competition.