I recently shared thoughts about some important First Steps in Selecting Business Technology. Upon successfully readying your organization and setting a good foundation for the project, it is critically important to perform the necessary introspection before engaging with any vendors. Ignore those calls and emails until you have done the following:
- Gain a complete, detailed understanding of your current state and project scope. Set up time with the people closest to the day-to-day work, along with key decision makers to have an open and honest dialogue. Some key questions to ask and answer include:
- What business functions am I considering technology changes for?
- What business processes will be affected by a technology change?
- What is the current efficiency and effectiveness of these processes?
- What current systems are on the chopping block and what system integrations must be considered and planned for?
- Which process changes would carry the most significant risk?
- Which process changes would have the most significant positive impact on the organization?
- Document and prioritize your business requirements. Take the list of ‘in-scope’ business functions and distill them until you know exactly what the future business software must be capable of doing. Not all business requirements carry equal weight, so make sure you distinguish between the “must-haves” and the “nice-to-haves.”
- Build a list of vendors you believe could meet your business requirements. Some may already be sitting in your inbox, but go beyond that. Reach out to industry peers, trusted business partners and do your own research on solutions that exist in the marketplace.
If you take the time to consider your current state and build a comprehensive set of capabilities you need and want, you will avoid falling in love with a shiny bell or whistle (and potentially overpaying!) that may not have a significant impact on your business. Furthermore, you will gain internal support from your stakeholders by involving them early in the process.
Feel free to reach out if you have specific questions with regards to this blog.