Selecting new software for your business can be a daunting task, particularly when you hear so many tales of failed software implementations.  So how can you ensure that you make the right choice?

1: Know What You Want.

This is the most important step in the process.  Prepare a detailed and objective document which show exactly what your business needs are.  Use this document throughout the selection process.

2: Search Widely.

Don’t just look at one or two packages – there are heaps out there.  Use multiple sources of information, such as Internet searches, industry associations, and recommendations from friends and colleagues.

3: Shortlist.

You can quickly eliminate packages which don’t make the grade by looking at your 10 key requirements – then concentrate on 2-3 real contenders.

4: Seeing is Believing.

Always look at a live demonstration of the software to make sure your key criteria are really met, using examples of your own data.

5: Stick to your Shopping List

Don’t be distracted by demonstrations of sexy features which are of no value
to you.  Always evaluate based on your business needs document.

6: Get It In Writing

Make sure software vendors confirm their conformance to your business needs document, and any other promises – in writing.

7: Ask for Help!

Help is available from independent consultants.  Judicious use of consultants for key activities such as your business needs document can make the difference between success and failure.

*Meredith Thompson is a director of Codexpertise, who provide specialist consulting services in software selection.