How to Buy the Best Enterprise Software: Expert Advice

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It’s a core challenge facing many companies: how do we choose the best enterprise software, based on our needs and budget? 

Confusion abounds. The enterprise software market offers a blizzard of choices – including plenty of tools with overlapping capabilities. Adding pressure, the decision is critical. Making the best choice offers major competitive advantage.

To shed light on this, I spoke with Frank Scavo, president of Strativa, a management and IT consulting firm. Scavo has assisted countless companies in the enterprise software buying process.

To see HIGHLIGHTS of our conversation, scroll down below the video.

For more software buying guides, see examples like Top Predictive Analytics Tools, Big Data Software, and Data Mining Tools.

Selecting Enterprise Software

Below are key points from Frank Scavo about the enterprise software selection process.

Management support:

“Get top management commitment. So, if you're going out for a new ERP system, it's not supposed to be an IT department decision, you're supposed to have users involved, you're supposed to be sure top management is behind it. And people used to make that mistake years ago, and sometimes, they still make that….”

Need for a vision: 

"You must understand your business processes, not only your current business processes, but how you want them to change, and what you're doing going forward for the future. You need to have a vision. The problem is, a lot of companies make the mistake and say, That means we have to map all of our processes.'"

Business Process Framing:

“Just like a business process mapping, [Business Process Framing] outlines the trigger and the result of the process. So, say, it's a customer quotation. So, what's the initiation of the process? What are the major steps to get to the deliverable? And then, what is the deliverable of the process? So, that basically,lays out the process in a very simple high level way without mapping."

Combining approaches:

“The big consulting firms will tell you, 'Let's go in and redesign business processes, and only then will we know which system to select.' That's one extreme. The other extreme is the software vendors, who don't want to see a lot of work done before you buy their software, so they say, 'Don't do that. Buy our system and then we will give you the best practices that you should redesign your business process around how we do it.'

"So actually what we [at Strativa] propose is a little bit of both..."

Don't design before you buy:

"You don't want to map out the detail for all those future processes in advance of knowing how the new system is going to do that. Because if you do that, you're probably going to design processes that actually don't fit any system, and you're going to have to customize the software or you have to redesign your business processes a second time. And that, again, is adding a lot of time and effort without much value.

"So we say, do the two in parallel: first, define your processes, future process, to a level where you can understand the key requirements. Select a new system based on those requirements, then design your processes in detail during the front-end of the implementation to take advantage of the native processes built into that new system."



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