4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

on Saturday, 07 September 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing



                                                         Software selection is a tricky and strategic process for any corporation. Here are 4 tips, on how to tackle a system selection process:  

1- The system selection process should follow a fact based approach. Gather Application or functional requirements via interviews and workshops from various groups like Operations, Finance, Marketing, and IT. These requirements should provide the basis for the selection. 

2- Employees in various functional areas, including Business Verticals, CRM, BI,ERP or any other type of system of engagement should participate to determine which value add features should be included in the selection criteria process. Through primary and secondary research (e.g. analyst reviews, vendor calls, subject matter expert reviews, independent consultants, vendor websites, etc.), select three to four vendors to issue the selection and invite them to demonstrate their offering.

3- Have a consistent approach for vendor selection analysis, a scoring schedule with weightings should be developed and validated internally. Further, scoring criteria should be established to evaluate the vendor’s software response.

4- Based on the scoring results and qualitative assessment of the vendors’ response and product demonstrations, short list two vendors and perform a total cost of ownership and a internal high level implementation plan. An important rule never select a software that has no product roadmap.


Below are some of the most common slipups, If you see your organization doing any of the following, take action quickly!

1- Not knowing up front the full Total Cost of Ownership . A previous client called me last week and was shocked to learn that their perfect $80K open source solution would cost $700K to make useful in their environment and another $250K annually to support. Make sure you perform a TCO.

2- Believing that newer technology will fix business problems is a trap that organizations repeatedly fall into

3- A software selection process that assumes the consent of other stakeholders without their involvement can easily get derailed. I know of several projects that experienced considerable delays after purchase or the software was put on the shelf do to internal reasons.

4- One that is often forgotten, not paying particular attention to integration points, the software selected must fit within your company’s spiderweb architecture.

Feel free to share any useful tips you've experienced.


Comments (11)

  • Marc Howard

    Marc Howard

    07 September 2013 at 00:52 |
    Great blog Alex, I would add contact and visit references!For instance, the IT professional will ask different questions than the controller or the manufacturing floor supervisor. If each talks with their peers, write up their responses and shares them with the project or steering committee, better decisions can be made.
  • Dean Miller

    Dean Miller

    07 September 2013 at 01:03 |
    I like to recommend that you take the time to prototype the solution, testing it to insure it meets your specific needs, prototype testing.
  • Steve Hernandez

    Steve Hernandez

    07 September 2013 at 02:00 |
    Good article, I would add when you begin the selection process, you should do your homework. Identify the top vendors in the market, identify the different technologies within the different vendors and understand the typical components/modules.
  • Michelle Taylor

    Michelle Taylor

    07 September 2013 at 11:55 |
    Like the advice, i would add ensure strong support and maintenance, there's no such thing as bug free software.
  • Maher Chowdhury

    Maher Chowdhury

    07 September 2013 at 14:16 |
    First time to the website, great information just bookmarked it! I would add focus on the requirements that are the differentiating criteria
  • Michael Green

    Michael Green

    07 September 2013 at 15:45 |
    Lots of great advice, one that i just experienced be realistic about your budget If you only have 300K, don't look at software in the 1M range. Don't even look at software in the 500K range. Focus on finding a solution you can afford.
  • 永隆


    07 September 2013 at 15:51 |
  • Thomas Wong

    Thomas Wong

    07 September 2013 at 18:15 |
    good tips, I would add once the software is selected, ensure you involve legal, we are currently suing our integrator for a failed implementation. Cant mention the name because of an NDA but its a global leading consulting firm, the lesson learned the consultant's success is not aligned fully with your outcome. When you work with the owner of a boutique consulting group, there is little doubt what customer he wants to please: you. However, when the project leader on your team is a member of a big firm, he has two customers: you and his boss. In fact, there may be many layers of internal bosses, all of whom must be satisfied for the consultant to succeed professionally. Is your project important? Yes. However, so are factors mostly irrelevant to you, such as development of the people underneath him(B team), thinkers usually wont be on your project, and the team's utilization must be met(unnecessary resources).
  • Megan Nguyen

    Megan Nguyen

    07 September 2013 at 18:22 |
    Excellent article, my comment i would ask scalability for growth questions. Like the product does it remain useful as your business grows? How does the pricing increase as your business grows? You want to avoid “sticker shock” if it’s necessary for you to add new users and/or features. Negotiate Price Freeze! involve the procurement team.
  • Gary Taylor

    Gary Taylor

    07 September 2013 at 22:09 |
    We just completed a software selection, and this advice is right on. I would emphasize for people working in large corporations make sure you involve the right stakeholders to avoid internal politics.
    • Alex Antonatos

      Alex Antonatos

      09 September 2013 at 22:29 |
      To all users that added comments/feedback wanted to say thank you for sharing your knowledge/experience on the topic of software selection.

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