Have you ever experienced the frustration of using software (inside your company/work) that just doesn’t fit? Maybe it’s hard to use, may it doesn’t meet the business needs anymore, or something else entirely. (This could be software for a CRM system, an ERP system, a marketing automation platform, an email marketing platform, etc.) Typically, after the implementation of new software, a company has high hopes; they had a long list of requirements, they thought they chose the best solution. However, it did not work out as expected. Maybe right away, or maybe over time, they saw it didn’t fit needs.
I have lived through this kind of experience. It is painful. After that experience, I learned about a more systematic (and proven) approach for companies to find and select the right software. I was thrilled.
This approach is outlined in the book, The Right Way to Select Technology by Tony Bryne and Jarrod Gingras.
This is a practical book that can be a great help to anyone considering new technology acquisitions. I only wish I had found it sooner myself.
Let me give you a snapshot of what you’ll find inside.
There are six major parts to the book:
- Business Foundations – shows you how to build a business case, compile the right team and a create an effective decision-making structure.
- Needs and Opportunities – helps you learn how to capture requirements that are based on real user stories and key use case questions.
- Conduct Market Analysis – helps you consider the best marketplace to search and the best set of potential suppliers to consider.
- Engage with Suppliers – helps you learn to communicate with potential suppliers by creating an effective RFP and asking smart questions.
- Try Before You Buy – what a great idea! This is about getting a targeted demo plus time to use the tool hands-on with a proof of concept stage.
- Make the Right Choice – provides guidance on how to make the right choice, negotiation tips, how to resolve any internal decision-making conflicts, and more
As you can see, the book is chock full of specific ideas to guide you through this process.
One example, up front, is that the authors encourage you to document your top three or four business objectives to guide your selection. (Too many companies get off track without this defined clearly up front.) They also encourage you to consider the costs of the program vs. the cost of doing nothing. Makes sense!
One particular flash of insight came for me when the authors highlighted the difference between software “platforms” and “products.” Platforms allow developers to make a custom application that fits your needs precisely. Whereas products do things right away out-of-the-box. As you do your research and you get a demo, do you know which one you’re buying? What will best fit your needs in the short and long-term? For example, if you are a smaller business and never had a CRM program before, you may want a CRM product to use. This way you can set it up and start using it quickly. Then there’s the other side of the coin. For those that need something very specific, it may be better to select a platform and customize it deeply to meet your needs.
In future blogs, I’m going to dive deeper into specific ideas from this book. Stay tuned.