The deployment of new business software often requires a considerable investment. Not only do you need to purchase the software, but you also invest in hardware, infrastructure and services provided by the software partner, and there is of course all the time and energy that your own people spend on the project. You want to earn that investment back by making the organization more effective and successful with the software. Pay attention to these 5 crucial things and you will be able to properly assess the risks of your intended software investment.
1. Continuity of the Supplier
You can never be sure that your software supplier will still exist in a few years, but you can do some checks on the continuity of the supplier. Is the company successful? Do they have a lot of customers? Do those customers work with the same products and product versions that you intend to purchase? Is the knowledge internally documented and disseminated or do you have to rely on one whizzkid? By answering these questions, you can assess more accurately whether your software partner can support, advise and guide you in upgrades and optimization processes in the future.
2. Continuity of the Software
Your software supplier is one, the software solution is something else. Again, it is wise to look at the success of the system. Is it used by many customers? What about the specific version that your organization wants to use? Ask your software partner for an escrow agreement; the source code of the software is then stored at a specialized escrow agent to assure you can use your system in the future. Also pay attention to the foundation of the software; is it completely self-developed or based on an existing, successful software solution? And are new developments still added to the system, are new releases planned? Or is the product already end of lifecycle?
3. Technology Used
Pay attention to the underlying technology of the software. It must be compatible with your existing IT environment. Is it widely used technology? Will it be supported in the future? If you opt for a stable platform built on a proven successful technology, your software solution has a better future than if you opt for an unknown or outdated technology or a new technology that is being experimented with.
4. Degree of Customization
For sure the software solution you want to invest in will not fully meet your requirements and wishes. But the question is how you deal with that. Will you try to solve this with a lot of expensive and complicated customizations to your system? This could make support, training, documentation, upgrading, etc. more difficult. It makes more sense to opt for an industry-specific standard solution in which perhaps certain functionalities are missing, but which supports your business just fine. Only choose for customizations if they provide benefit.
5. Degree of Complexity
How complex is the software in which your organization wants to invest? Ideally, it is an extremely user-friendly and intuitive system that every employee can quickly get to work with. Or is the setup illogical, or the user interface incomprehensible? Do you have many integrations with other software systems? Do you have interfaces with suppliers, partners and customers? Keep in mind that the new software in your organization will be used by a diverse group of employees and that complexity can impede the acceptance of the system.
Teun Arts is Service Manager at Dysel and it is his job to ensure that customers make optimal use of the software, now and in the future.