The smoke has cleared from a dazzling software demonstration and as the presenters exit the room taking the last of the smoke with them, your team says, "Wow! That was Amazing!". But was it really?
Software demonstrators know how to dazzle their audience. They want you to buy their product, so of course they have perfected the illusion that their software is the answer to all your problems.
Here are a few tips on how not to become mesmerized by software magicians and really choose a product that fulfills your current needs and allows for future growth.
1. Don't be afraid to find out a vendor's reputation, implementations, and ability to provide the resources that you need. It's a bit like digging into an online dating profile. Ask for references!
2. Put all your potential candidates in the same dress. Meaning, view them in the same scenario, using your data. If you see one in a red dress and one in black, depending on which color you are drawn to, you could be easily swayed by their pageantry.
3. Take it for a test drive. Take the time to gather your team and kick the tires and rev the engine. See if the software truly has the horsepower that you need to accomplish your current and future goals.
4. Avoid software bias and use a scoring system. Have the team members score each software in accordance with how it handles their needs. Using a team offense will expose any weaknesses and produce better results.
5. When considering the cost factor, make sure you understand what each proposal includes. Are we talking data dump and run, or are there a team of trainers waiting to come in guide you through the whole process? And don't forget about upgrades. You may be tempted to take short term disability to avoid rewriting all the reports that were so amazing at the initial implementation.