As an executive, who knows the dysfunctional process hindering your company’s productivity better than you do? If it is someone else, then you may not have to take the lead on this software selection process. You may be able to pass this project off to an operational manager. If the answer, however, is no one knows better than you, you should be involved in this process as much as possible.
Passing this responsibility off to someone who does not know the corporate objectives as intimately as you do can lead to the selection of a software solution that falls short of being just that- a solution. Executives tend to focus more time on tactical and operational challenges. This task may seem a poor use of your time, even. When it comes to selecting software however, view it as your time being spent to improve long term challenges that could arise if the software chosen is not the right solution for your company needs and goals. In the long run, this could save you the money and hassle of finding a new software solution again prematurely. The average lifespan a software implementation is 7 years but that can be cut short when time is not invested by the executive team upfront.
During the process here are some questions to ask:
- What is the design and architecture of the software?
- Is the software up to industry standards and up to date?
- How will this software interact with what is used in the organization currently?
- How user friendly is this solution?
- Can it scale as my organization grows?
Each company is unique. The business model, business process, objectives, and areas for improvement differ greatly. A one-size fits all software solution may temporarily patch up your problems, but it will not add long term value. When dealing with a quality solutions provider, they will want to be able to understand the needs of both strategic and operational team members. Working with the solution provider will ensure they offer or build a solution that will fit you team and organization.
Take time to get to know the provider. Learning about the way the provider works and communicates will help you understand if working with them in the future will be possible and pleasant. Find out their previous track record for delivering solutions on time, how experienced their team is, if you will be given support, and if other clients have been satisfied with the solution they provide
Investing your time as an executive in this process will give you peace of mind that the solution you choose will be the right fit for your company. While partaking in the process remember: in the long run, your invested time will save your company money and headaches.