Choosing the best applications for your business is achievable by no mean feat. With so many applications on the market, it’s oftentimes difficult to narrow down your options to a manageable level.
Buying software applications for your business is a multi-faceted issue with multi-varied outcomes. Not only is it a question of shortlisting from the range of available apps, but there are other factors involved that include ensuring that you have the right team managing the tender process, understanding the key business requirements, sourcing an appropriate solution that matches the needs of the department / organisation and assessing the vendor’s responses, then shortlisting to a manageable level to enable you to make an informed decision.
1. Assemble a Team
There are several roles & responsibilities when producing a tender for the purpose of procuring the best application for the business requirements. Firstly, you’re going to need a Business Analyst, or, an employee that encompasses BA responsibilities within their role. The BA’s predominant responsibility is to capture the requirements from the business, formulate the requirements into a Request for Proposal document, and research appropriate solutions (or, receive recommendations from the target audience i.e. a key contact from a department within the business who are in need of a software solution).
In addition to a BA, it would be worth considering an employee who operates in Procurement, a particularly useful contact who is ordinarily involved in the contractual processes, mostly from a commercial point of view, ensuring that the business attain the best possible discount (if applicable). We would also recommend including a member of the Legal function for contracts, the IT team from a technical input perspective and a Project Manager so that they can prepare themselves for the project accordingly.
2. Determining the Need
Once your team is assembled, you need to ensure that the requirements are captured. This should include a series of meetings with the various stakeholders; particularly the target audience (i.e. the department / user community that will benefit from the potential solution). Gaining an understanding of the critical nature of each requirement is also vitally important, and at a basic level, you could look to grade each requirement from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’.
Our strong recommendation though, would be to utilise the MoSCoW project methodology, a method used by many organisations for discovery / requirements gathering. When abbreviated further, the MoSCoW method breaks down to MSCW with the ‘M’ standing for ‘Must Have’, the ‘S’ for ‘Should Have’, ‘C’ for ‘Could Have’ and ‘W’ for ‘Won’t Have’.
3. Finding Business Apps
Finding business apps can certainly be challenging, but it does depend on the type of product that you seek. If, for example, the business is looking for a simple word processer, then there aren’t too many options on the market to choose from. But, when you start to consider very specific departmental technologies, such as, a contract management tool for Legal, or, supply chain solutions for Procurement, you are going to have to apply a significant amount of due diligence, to ensure that the shortlisted products are placed through rigorous reviews. Additionally, we would highly recommend utilising Capterra and G2 as a starting point for sourcing potential solutions.
This leads nicely onto business application management, and how you might manage all of these specific department technologies inside a single, intuitive dashboard. And that’s where vinciDASH comes in; vinciDASH is a business app manager, and acts as an enterprise wide technology that combines each department’s apps into a single application, to give the user community more insight to the technologies at their disposal. You can find out more by visiting our Home Page.
4. Trial the Shortlisted Software
So, now you have captured the requirements, you’ve shortlisted a selection of applications, it’s now time to trial the software. Some product categories trial better than others, for example, an e-signature system trials far better than a contract management system, because an e-signature system is about as out of the box as you can get, whereas a contract management tool oftentimes requires significant configurations, depending on the complexity of the workflows. Before proceeding with a trial, it would also be worthwhile determining the success criteria, whilst keeping the criteria as simple as possible to avoid causing confusion amongst the user community.
Additionally, whilst trialling software, it is also paramount to ensure that constant guidance is provided by the vendor in the form of workshops or training sessions throughout the course of the Proof of Concept (POC) to maximise the value of the POC. We would also recommend keeping the trials fairly short and consistently monitor the usage of the test system to ensure that the shortlisted systems are thoroughly tested.
5. Vendor Evaluation and Selection
Following the test period, it is important to stay connected with the target audience of the proposed software solution, and receive criteria-based feedback, that could even cross-reference a check-list that specifically relates to the MoSCoW methodology results, which you may have utilised during the discovery phase of this process.
Once the scores are tallied, the feedback is received and the appropriate references have been reviewed, it is now time for your selection! From our perspective, functionality should take precedence, as this is one of the key determining factors in ensuring that the chosen software is successfully adopted. The cost of the solution is also an important factor when choosing the best software apps and we’d certainly recommend conducting some cost-benefit analysis prior to finalising your decision.
Should you wish to learn more about how vinciDASH may benefit your business, then you would be more than welcome to reach out via email at [email protected], or, by phone on +44 73 4000 20 90. We look forward to hearing from you!
The vinciDASH team