Do you need new software or have you failed to see what your current system can actually do?
- DO: Check carefully before you commit the organisation to an expense. With some training and configuration what you have now may possibly do the job.
- DO: Create an articulate and numerate business case; airy fairy assumptions like “if we had a good absence module absence rates would fall” won’t work. Remember, when you blame the current system, make sure it’s not your poor quality data that is really to blame.
- DO: Ensure the signatories are agreed that this is a business priority that cannot be suspended or shelved.
- DO: Make sure you know what you are looking for. You will only get the right picture if you have correctly identified the purposes for having the software, and how will work in tandem with your processes now and in the future.
One of the major stumbling blocks is failure to prepare.
- DO: Cleanse data, map processes and gather together organisational rules and structures. This will not only save a lot of effort later on, it will inform you much more closely of what you are looking for when it comes to demonstrations.
All software vendors have different charging models.
- DO: Work out costs of ownership over 5 years to make your comparisons.
If you are attending a software exhibition:
- DO: Book time ahead with a potential vendor, and send through a list of issue you would like to see demonstrated. Travelling for two hours to look at random flashing screens for 40 minutes is no basis for selection – or indeed anything else.
If the demonstration is on your premises:
- DO: Ensure the vendor has a list of issues to cover, and how they will be scored against your criteria. Maximum time for a demonstration should not be longer than 3 hours, and ensure all vendors have the same time allowance. Do NOT attempt more than two in a day.
- DO: Have your own project manager, and a professional project manager with the relevant experience of managing time, people and resources. Anything less will multiply the chance of your project coming off the rails. This project manager will manage the vendor liaison, working with their project manager, and will respond to the project or steering group. Of course, there is a cost, but measured against the value of your project, it is justified.
- DO: Check the cancellation clause of your current provider – don’t get caught with unexpected penalty costs.
- DO: Manage the political and cultural aspects; some influential people may not be directly affected by your project, but they can throw a spanner in the works if not properly consulted. If your workforce will be affected by things like self service and electronic payslips, then you need to consult with them at the earliest moment.