Software Evaluation and Selection Tips

Seeking to implement a new software program or technology solution?

Selecting a new technology or software solution for your company is a significant decision and investment. Today’s technology marketplace contains hundreds of thousands of products, vendors, and promises. Coming from an objective and unbiased matter, the key is finding the best fit from the crowded marketplace that addresses your specific needs.

It is often easy to select the product that is the most popular, the product that is the least expensive, or the product with the most appealing marketing messages. However, these factors rarely translate to the most suitable and valuable solution for your company. It is important that you thoroughly analyze your business and technical needs for a new solution, research, analyze, and assess potential solutions based on your needs, and select the solution that best meets those unique requirements. Depending on the new technology you are looking to implement, the research and evaluation process can be a somewhat time consuming endeavor. However, the process is certainly worth it in the long run, delivering you greater value and a higher return on your investment.

So how do you find the best solution for your company?

There are several steps you will want to take when selecting a new technology to implement at your business. These processes can include: requirements gathering and analysis, research, evaluation, demos, and implementation planning. Depending on the size and complexity of your initiative, you may want to perform the work yourself in-house, or hire a consultant with experience with different technologies and software evaluation and selection, to carry out the process.

If you decide to perform the work in- house, here are some tips, based on our years of experience assisting clients in selecting the best technologies for their unique needs, to keep in mind:

1. Analyze and prioritize your needs:

This is perhaps the most important step in the process, as without truly knowing what you need, you cannot select an appropriate solution. Talk with key stakeholders (including end-users, IT personnel, management, etc.), examine your existing IT environment and IT investments, and make a prioritized list of your specific business and technical needs for a new solution.

2. Research options:

Once you have assessed your needs, you can now use those requirements to research solutions that match those needs. First, start with a long list of options, to ensure you consider all viable options, and gradually eliminate selections based on how well each fits with your needs. You should try to collect information from as many sources as possible (including company websites, customer references, white papers, trusted industry sources, etc.) to avoid falling in the trap of marketing or sales pitches.

3. Evaluate how well each option meets your needs:

After performing thorough research to identify potential fits, you should now start narrowing down your list to the top few solutions by assessing each solution and how well it meets your requirements. A few key factors that you will want to evaluate are: fit with requirements, cost, flexibility, ease of use, ease of implementation, ease of maintenance, and scalability. By evaluating the options against your needs, in an unbiased and structured manner, you should be able to refine your list to a few top contenders. Developing a structured matrix by mapping out the solutions against your prioritized requirements can also come in handy when performing a thorough assessment.

4. Take test drives:

Just as you would not buy a car without test driving it, you should not buy software or technology that you have not seen in action. Try to obtain free trials of the top few solutions you have identified before making a final decision in order to evaluate each more thoroughly. How easy is each for end users to understand and use? Can you easily perform the daily operations that you need to with the solution? Do you see the software or technology working well for you into the future, as your company grows and your needs evolve?

5. Select the best-fit product and plan for implementation:

You should now have enough in-depth information and insights necessary to make a thoroughly researched, unbiased selection. As you should throughout the process, it is especially important to engage key stakeholders in this decision process to ensure “buy in” and to ensure that your organization’s employees will use and feel positively about the given technology. Once you select the most suitable solution, you can then start planning for successful implementation.

Remember, the evaluation and selection process varies for each unique company, project, and technology. In some instances you will want to employ a more thorough and intense process, whereas with other decisions, you may want to skip around and perform the whole process in just a couple of hours However, we hope we have given you some helpful tips, based on our knowledge of best practices and extensive experience with a wide range of technologies and clients, to consider when making your next technology implementation decision.

What have been your experiences selecting new technologies? What are some key tips that you have found helpful or learned throughout your experiences? Share with us in the comments below!

Seeking to implement a new software program or technology solution?

Talk to a consultant today and utilize our extensive experience with a wide range of technologies and clients, to help you make your next technology implementation decision!

Leave a Comment

Start typing and press Enter to search

Custom Software DevelopmentWorking in the city