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The software selection process offers a significant challenge for even the most skilled selection teams. It’s a complex undertaking that most professionals only deal with once or twice in their career. Which is why it’s not surprising they find it to be a challenge.
Of course, software comes in many forms. There’s software focused on a specific organizational function, such as accounting software or project management software. There’s also industry-specific software like warehouse management systems (WMS) in logistics and fulfillment; pharmacy management systems in healthcare; or manufacturing software for material requirements planning (MRP).
Then there’s software that represents larger undertakings, typically affecting all departments or business units and integrating multiple functions. This is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, such as Microsoft Navision (Dynamics NAV) or SAP S/4HANA.
Essentially, the more integrated the software, the more complex the selection becomes and the greater impact a wrong selection can have on your organization. After all, a highly integrated software package touches nearly every part of the business.
In other words, there’s more stuff to break.
So, how do you ensure you’re making the right decision in software for your organization? You get help from experts who have helped organizations like yours successfully navigate the software selection process numerous times.
Yes, you should ask for help outside your organization. And here’s why.
If you’ve done your due diligence, you’ve put together a team of stakeholders that represents as many areas of the company as is reasonable. You did this because an essential part of software selection is including different perspectives from the beginning.
By including these perspectives, your software decision will consider the needs of multiple business areas, not just one or two. In turn, each of these business areas will be positively impacted once the software is implemented.
However, this approach only allows for varied perspectives. Overall, there are still limitations present.
What do I mean by this?
Ask yourself: What do you think your IT Director cares about? Or your Head of Accounting? Your Financial Analyst, Marketing Coordinator, or Human Resource Manager?
They are all concerned about how the software will affect their own functional areas and workflow. And rightly so, as each functional representative will be using the software in ways that differ from the other functions.
With each team member having their own agenda, you need someone who can maintain a high-level perspective, while still considering the needs of individual business areas. You also need someone with specific knowledge and experience that can only be gained from successfully completing a number of software selection engagements.
When pulling together software selection teams, sponsors often don’t consider the extra time burden joining the team requires. Each team member already has their full-time job duties to perform, which are likely already being pushed back daily.
Given that the software selection process can sometimes take weeks or even months (especially with no expert assistance), the additional burden could cause schedule delays and interrupt processes within your team members’ functional areas.
Something will suffer, whether it be the business area, the selection process, or the team members themselves.
By seeking help outside your organization, you can limit the time commitment you place on your team. For one, there will be less overall commitment needed from them throughout the process. The less they are responsible for, the less time they will need to put in.
More specifically, there will be less time needed to “figure things out” while proceeding through the process. Getting outside guidance ensures your team is always sure what the next step is and how to get through it quickly and efficiently.
Lastly, the selection process is a rather significant project, which means it requires project management. Managing the project is a job in itself and, subsequently, takes time.
Each of your team members might be talented and knowledgeable, but they all have something in common that can be a significant hinderance. They aren’t objective. And objectivity is critical for making the right decision in ERP software.
There’s an old saying that’s appropriate here: They can’t see the forest for the trees.
Essentially, your team members are most familiar with their own responsibilities and areas of accountability. It may be at the team level, department level, or functional level. But it doesn’t consider the entire organization.
Beyond that, they are naturally embroiled in office politics and internal relationships. This means their thoughts and actions are influenced by those around them, as their day-to-day interactions will continue after the selection process is finished.
It’s for these reasons that having an external party come in is essential to providing the selection process with much-needed objectivity. And while we pride ourselves on working closely with our clients, we maintain a healthy separation to ensure an objective decision is made.
Understandably, each person on your software selection team has their own opinion about how to approach the selection process, as well as which software they prefer.
And while everyone may be friendly in the beginning, the stress of a selection process can often cause unnecessary friction between team members. This can affect the process, of course, but also the work performance of each team member in their regular duties.
An outside resource like Factum can provide the necessary buffer for the selection team to cooperate more harmoniously. Instead of one member being forced to concede to another, or debating until a stalemate, we can help mediate a compromise and provide insight into why a certain decision is more appropriate.
Let’s face it. No one gets excited about the software selection process. (Except maybe us!)
Having to take on additional responsibility (especially without extra pay) is never fun. It’s quite common for team members to simply not want to be concerned with the organization’s next software package.
However, you won’t know this because they will likely not state their thoughts and feelings outright. Instead, these members will exhibit a subtle lack of engagement and effort throughout the process. The culmination of which will lead to a less-than-ideal software decision.
That’s why it’s important to seek out help from software selection experts who love helping organizations navigate the process. A consulting firm that not only puts in the effort so your team doesn’t have to, but also enjoys making such a daunting task look easy.
These are the most pressing reasons why you should seek external assistance in your software selection process, though there are plenty more.
Given the significance of selecting an ERP system for your organization, don’t you owe it to your team to give them the help they need? Factum is here to help you in the software selection process. Schedule your free discovery call today.