Common system selection mistakes

Common system selection mistakes

Any system selection requires significant time to make the best investment decision, and the preparation work done prior to the decision leads to a smoother selection and, eventually, a better implementation.

Following these guidelines will allow you to avoid the common pitfalls of poor system selections. Working through each stage will enable you to maximize the value of the system and prevent mistakes early on in the process, which could have serious implications further down the line.

1. Identify your business requirements

Knowing your specific business requirements is key to selecting the best system for your organization. Your business requirements should reflect both how your organization conducts itself, but also encapsulate how workflows may change once you have the new technology. Most organizations identify basic business requirements, and fewer consider a future state that includes a new system. Failure to do this will increase the probability of choosing a system that does not meet your functional requirements and decreases the likelihood of your processes being adapted to reap the benefits of the new system.

2. Evaluate what’s essential

After detailing your business requirements, separate the essential functionality from the important functionality. This careful distinction requires input from relevant parties outside your department. It is difficult to judiciously weigh functional requirements, especially when you don’t know what to expect from each system, and many companies mistakenly value every requirement as essential. Identifying the critical functionality clarifies the strengths and weaknesses of each system, which weeds out the weaker options.

3. Ask vendors to provide structured demonstrations

You must logically structure the vendor demonstrations for two reasons: to validate that the systems meet your business requirements and to compare the offerings to one another. To validate the system’s functionality, it helps to know how these systems work ahead of time, but also provide the vendors with concrete examples you expect them to replicate. You see how well each system meets your needs rather than letting the vendors showcase their own capabilities. Additionally, you now have identical cases to compare for each option.

4. Use all available data to make a sound decision

If you follow the steps above, the data will almost make the decision for you. Your detailed business requirements flush out which systems have the functionality most important to you, and you can easily compare how each system accomplishes a similar task. Combine quantitative data with qualitative feedback to make the case for the best system for your needs. Many organizations mistake the vendor demonstrations as the sole decision point, rather than include all the information available to them.

Zanders’ experience

We know how to structure and customize your system selection so you are confident and informed at each stage of the process. You will have access to our system selection knowledge and resources cultivated over 20 years for a broad variety of organizations and industries. Our proprietary system selection toolkit and extensive library with best-in-class work processes will be of great value, helping you to decrease the uncertainty around an investment that significantly impacts your business.