Having just completed several business applications software selection projects, here are a few tips:
- Be careful about getting caught up in the “Cloud” hype! It sounds fabulous and “everyone important is doing it,” right?
While there are some good vendors out there, this is THE hot platform for vendors to jump on. Some customers are starting to get burned because the Cloud vendor they chose doesn’t support them, hands them off to a new “Partner,” the system is not robust enough to meet their needs, the system has gone down, and/or the system got corrupted. The sales person may tell you that because it’s in the Cloud it is the latest technology, has unlimited capacity and is incredibly easy to install and maintain. You need to do your due diligence!
Check to see if the vendor’s infrastructure can really handle your transaction load and the complexity of your transactions. The technology and concept may sound great, but do they actually deliver? Continuously check all of their security procedures and have contingencies in place for failures. (Remember: If it’s a highly visible platform, it’s on the radar screen of hackers!). What is your backup for critical data? Do you have an easy way to retrieve your data and access it for productive use if your vendor has a problem?
- Reference checks are critical.
We have seen some vendors load their demo software so it looks like it can handle your needs. Be sure you carefully check with references that have similar requirements to you and are on the platform that you are planning to use. Check what modules they’re using. We’ve come across vendors who list impressive customers, but when you drill down, you discover that the customer is only using the vendor for one module, and that’s not the key module that you need.
- Attend the vendor’s regional and annual user conference.
You can learn a lot about the vendor by talking with its existing customers (even during breaks and in the hall!), sitting in on the user sessions, etc. What kind of support does the vendor provide, are they honest and have integrity, do they deliver what they promise, etc.? If a vendor does not allow you to attend its user conference, that’s a “red flag” that you need to learn more about.
Posted By: Trisha Tubbs