10 Tips for Acquiring and Implementing Software

Posted: 09/12/2020

by Jeff Scotland

2021 will be the year of digital transformation. The pandemic has driven the need to automate, streamline and remotely collaborate on business processes and processing to unprecedented levels.

As a result of restructuring and redundancy, many organisations will start 2021 with less staff and reduced corporate knowledge. Without improved processes and systems, they will be swamped as business returns to normal volumes.

This, in turn, will lead to an urgent need for digital transformation and the acquisition of quick-fix technology solutions in an attempt to meet business requirements. The temptation to rush to market for desperate need point solutions will be too much for many to resist. But there is a better way.

In the short-term, rushing to a technology solution is fraught with danger. Here are DVE’s Top 10 tips to digitally transform effectively and at low cost.

1. Review

Review your current business processes and look for immediate opportunities to eliminate waste and streamline processing. Some examples could be to eliminate double-handling, move the expertise closer to the customer rather than two or three levels and hand-offs away, delegate authority for administrative and non-critical decisions and stop performing low-value tasks.

2. Identify

Identify your current and future business requirements (functional and non-functional), so you can readily identify a workable solution when you see one and use this to assess potential internal and external solutions. Your process review should determine what isn’t working and what issues you need the new solution to resolve. Grade your requirements carefully and be clear about what is mandatory, what is important and what is desirable or nice-to-have.

3. Check

If the need for a technology solution is inevitable, talk to your IT representative about your needs because there may be existing systems in the organisation that can be readily utilised with minor modifications to the system or the process. Many organisations are full of under-utilised software solutions with capable modules turned off, or great functionality that has been forgotten.

4. Reach out to your peer network

What systems are they using? What is working well, and what are the shortcomings? How long did it take to implement? Was the provider capable? What level of staffing was diverted from business as usual?

5. Conduct online research

Perform a market scan by conducting your own online research. There are lots of industry papers out there that will provide reviews of potential solutions. You can see news articles, conferences, technical reviews, deep dive into websites for support information and industry knowledge.

6. Assess proposals against all criteria

When assessing software proposals, make sure you score each solution against all of your assessment criteria. Your assessment criteria should be weighted, so that mandatory and important criterion are scored higher than nice-to-haves so that you are ranking the solutions against your specific needs.

7. Assess the proposals against the cost

Perhaps the best value for money is not the highest-ranked solution. Consider the risks and value adds of all respondents.

8. Request a Best and Final Offer

If the results are close, consider requesting a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) from your favoured shortlist. This allows your respondents to re-quote and perhaps alter their value for money ranking and at least will save some dollars as offers are reduced.

9. Check references

Not everyone checks the references provided in tender responses, and they take some vendors for granted. Do not fall into this trap! Also, check references that providers have not provided to get a more robust view of what you might expect.

10. Use external project managers

Consider using external project managers to oversee the implementation. The key reason for this is that you are most likely moving into a long-term relationship with the software vendor. Sometimes projects can be adversarial and testy and can cause considerable angst between the vendor and the client. This is not a great way to start a relationship. An external PM can play the bad cop with the vendor and the client as required and enable the vendor/client relationship to remain healthy.

These tips have been derived from many years of helping clients improve processes, develop functional requirements, go to market and implement solutions. We hope they have provided some value for you. If you have any questions about implementing software solutions, call us on 1800 870 677.

Have a great Christmas and New Year. Enjoy the break and gather your resources and resolve, because 2021 is coming fast!