4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Software for Your Business

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Software for Your Business

by Christophe Primault
Published on 6 April 2012

business software evaluation mistakes

Our software evaluation partner Eval-Source have published an interesting post where they share their experience about the mistakes small businesses make when evaluating software for their business, often leading them to overbuy.

When looking at evaluating software small businesses tend to:

evaluate too many solutions

forget to work with an evaluation script

be mislead by cool but useless features

forget their main objective

Let's look into these mistakes in more details and how they can be mitigated.

Mistake #1: Too many vendors on the list

The first problem, is that businesses start the evaluation with too many vendors.

They usually go through the painful process of:

  • understand the business requirements
  • selecting all the vendors on the long list
  • collecting all the research necessary to understand the features/functions, pricing, integration points
  • educate the rest of the team
  • manage the demos, trials and all the questions, answers and content provided by the vendors

If the list of vendors is too long, managing, sharing and keeping the data collected becomes difficult as there is much to sort through.

A good starting point to narrow the long list of vendors prior to starting the evaluation process is to use a business software marketplace with side by side comparison capabilities. Using these services will allow you to get started your evaluation process with no more than 3 solutions.

Mistake #2: Lack of a demo script

The second problem when taking an online demo or inviting vendors for demonstrations of their software is that without a set demonstration script you won't be able to compare apples with apples. Demos will show you all the functions and cool features the software is capable of providing while not solving the original business problem that you identified.

Be sure to always have a precise script before evaluating a software and only compare on what was included in your original evaluation scope.

Mistake #3: Being misled by features

A third problem is that the features shown during a demo become the actual evaluation criteria. Vendors will show a plethora of different features and this can lead to selecting the incorrect system. It often introduces additional project scope and can lead to buying unnecessary functionality and wasting company money.

Be careful not to wander off the original intent and scope of the software as is it can impact your ROI and force you to throw too much money in the original software selection.

Mistake #4: Forget the objective

A forth problem is alignement with the main objective. Businesses can easily get caught up with the luxuries of the software and might not realize the extra resources that the company will need during and after the implementation.

Make sure that you strictly stick to what you need to meet your initial objective. . Don't get caught up in unnecessary complexity that will blow up your budget.

These four mistakes can be mitigated if you do not jump straight to vendor demonstrations when proceeding with a software evaluation. Get your objectives straight, narrow the list of vendors you will look at, build a demo script, don't be impressed by unnecessary features and make sure that you don't over buy.

If you need some help in preparing your software evaluation, you can:

Download the Best Practices for Software Selection eBook

Or contact us for Free Software Advice from our in-house experts or software evaluation partners Eval Source.

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Picture courtesy of Flickr user opensourceway