The Journey of Software Selection in
Enterprise Performance Management
Introduction to this guide:
Software selection can be a challenging task, and even more so when it relates to Enterprise Performance Management, since requirements can often be as unique as the business itself. While there is a large volume of content available on the web regarding frameworks and best practices in selecting software, buyers of performance management software typically find very little relevant and helpful information.
The objective of this guide is to share specific and tangible information that you can use in your performance management software evaluation process.
Best Practices in Selecting Enterprise Performance Management Software
Software selection in general can be a challenging task. Selecting a performance management solution can pose additional challenges since businesses have unique requirements. The very nature of performance management means the solution must be built for change and adaptation to dynamic business conditions, as well as changes related to strategic planning cycles. The solution you implement this year may look very different in a few years, and your needs may be very different.
Before getting down to the best practices, it is important to know what to avoid. Here are some common misconceptions about selecting performance management software. These will help you to establish fundamental questions to ask vendors.
Misconception 1: What works for others will work for you
Each business is unique. This is the fundamental reason that considerable management time is spent on 'the differentiating strategy'. Since each business strategy is different, the methods required to execute the strategy must vary as well. It is important to keep the focus on your needs while evaluating software for performance management and strategy execution.
Misconception 2: Software selection is about choosing a solution with great technical functionality
Functionality offers an incomplete picture of your experience with a solution. While it is certainly important to choose a solution that meets your functional requirements, it is critical to also look at the flexibility and ease of use that places the functionality in the hands of your business users. A solution that is easy to manage and maintain will offer a predictable implementation timeframe, and a lower total cost of ownership as the solution is used well into the future. This offers greater long-term value for the customer.
Misconception 3: Generic demos, nice presentations are evidence of the best software
Generic demos and presentations are good ways to get introduced to a software solution. It is when you move deeper into the evaluation process and analyze how well a solution fits into your specific business needs that the actual use of the solution emerges. Please remember – the devil is in the details.
More points for you to consider
- Are you buying a software framework or is it an out-of-the box solution?
- How much customization does it require?
- How are your critical requirements implemented in the software? There can be several ways of implementing a stated requirement. Does it offer the flexibility you will need?
- Are influenced by analyst reviews ? Are analysts actually covering your business needs?
- Does the software fit into your current and future needs?
Finally – are you challenging your software vendor enough?
An excellent way to differentiate vendors is to ask for a free proof-of-concept, and to make it mandatory in your selection process. If the software you are evaluating is business-user friendly, flexible, and easy to use, it should be easy to set up a proof-of-concept models your critical requirements. This will enable an objective evaluation of the solutions.