Here are a few key things to keep in mind as you move through the software demo process.
1) Use a Demo Script so that the software vendor will show how they solve your business needs and not just their bells and whistles.
2) Hold your pre-demo meeting with the vendor and spend some time talking about the logistics of the demo and your expectations.
3) Provide the software vendors with enough information so they can properly demo the software.
4) Assign a demo police person to make sure the demo stays on track. Maintaining control of the time in the demo can be very difficult.
5) Understand that you won’t be able to see everything in a 1 day, 2 day or even a 3 day demo. You will have follow up sessions with the software vendors for specific areas that you need to see in more detail (typically done via a webex demo).
6) Hold a post-demo rating meeting to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the solutions you saw and how you would rank them. The goal is to eliminate at least one vendor so you can focus the final due diligence on one or two solutions.
Although the software demos are one of the most important steps in the software selection process, remember that the demo is just one part of the software evaluation and you still need to conduct further due diligence to make a final decision.