5 Tips for Picking the Right Business Tool
March 03, 2017
Looking for a new business tool?
It can be overwhelming to pick out a new system. Whether it’s running your back-end financials or managing your customers, the stakes are high and everyone has an opinion. So, where do you start?
Well, deciding that your current business software isn’t working is the obvious first step.
From there, you need to get real about what your business needs are looking ahead. What are the process and functionality gaps in your current tool, and what features are needed to support future growth? Taking the time to document these requirements will help you find and implement a business tool that will work both now and for years to come.
Once your requirements are outlined, you can start the evaluation process. Sometimes it can be helpful to have an experienced consultant involved, but with the right planning, you can successfully pick a winning solution in-house. To help, here are five tips to help keep your tech evaluation focused and fruitful.
5 Tips for Successful Solution Selection
- Involve functional leaders in the process. They are the key stakeholders in your decision’s outcome. Involving them in the conversation will help uncover critical functionality needs you may have initially overlooked. Including all of your operational areas early and often will ensure both well-rounded system requirements and increased support for the tool change.
- Take the time to identify what your business both needs and wants in your new tool. Then rank them by order.
The more complete and thorough your documentation, the better you can keep your top priority needs in mind as you evaluate your options. We may sound like a broken record, but we cannot stress this step enough. Outlining your business’s technology requirements is absolutely necessary to picking the right solution.
- Don’t forget to use your network. There is no better time to reach out to your business peers, customers, and partners to ask what they’re using. This is a great way to gauge what’s working well in your industry and what isn’t. After all, why recreate the wheel? Let someone else’s hard learned lessons be your easy takeaway. Talk to industry groups and leverage your business network to fast track a few tool options and eliminate others.
- Once you’ve researched which options meet your defined requirements, reach out for tool demos. Whether you go straight to the publisher or look at certified implementation partners, aim to have around three different systems demoed for a balanced evaluation. Any fewer and you may be to narrow in your focus, any more and your scope is probably not well enough defined. It’s also a smart idea to provide a bit of structure and background for demonstrations. You don’t want a generic system run-through. Share your top requirements or functionality needs so vendors can tailor their presentation to your business. Not only will this give you a clearer idea of which solution best addresses your challenges, but it can also present areas for improvement. The right solution provider will know their tool inside and out, and may be able to offer alternatives you hadn’t considered to better your internal operations.
- During each of the demo presentations, score consistently. This will keep the playing field even for each of your options and make your selection process more objective. Involve your internal stakeholders and ask them to score based on specific metrics that align with your defined requirement priorities.
By keeping these tips top of mind during your software selection process, you can be sure you’re picking the best solution for your business.
Download "The Buyer's Guide to Financial Management Software."