Software Providers | Microsoft Dynamics | Vox ISMWhether you are tired of rubber-banding legacy systems or have simply outgrown your entry-level software, it’s time to consider the options available to help move your business forward. With so many selections to choose from, figuring out where to start can feel slightly overwhelming.

Before you can begin assessing software solutions or select a provider, you must start with a thorough needs assessment. It’s important to first understand and evaluate your present and future business requirements. This evaluation becomes the foundation from which you can launch your business solutions.

A study by McKinsey took a closer look at IT projects experiencing cost overruns and found 13% of the overruns were attributed to poorly defined business objectives and focus. In addition, shifting requirements during project implementation accounted for 9% of cost overruns.

Business Evaluation Questions

The following questions should be asked at each level of business. For example, when reviewing the purchasing function, these questions would be asked of the buyer, the manager, finance [approval and tracking] and shipping/receiving departments.

  • What makes your business unique?
  • What functionality could you not live without?
  • What do you like, and dislike about your current system?
  • What functionality is missing?
  • How do you prioritize desired functionality and requirements? (Should any of the requirements require customization, once prioritized you can apply a quick cost-benefit analysis to determine if the additional costs are justified).

Software Selection

With clear business requirements in hand you are ready to start the evaluation process evaluating. Here are a few quick pointers to help narrow down the potential solutions to the top two or three that work best for your business.

  1. Reputation and Quality of Vendor: This might not be the time to try the “new kid on the block”. High quality and reliable business software is critical, as is dependable customer service and software improvements. Search for annual reviews of software providers going back several years. Quickly the top ten providers will start to emerge.
  2. Organization Size: Narrow your selection by the size of organizations the providers serve. If you are a fifty person organization you don’t need a software solution designed for an organization of five hundred people. It is a waste of money and resources, with no added benefits. Similarly, too small of a solution won’t provide the flexibility and data for growth.
  3. Industry Vertical: Further narrow your selection by industry vertical. Some software providers are leaders within a specific vertical.
  4. Local Support: Implementation, even straight out the box, can be overwhelming for your team. Local resources provide in-person support for your organization (within the added expense of flying in consultants), as they navigate through the implementation and training process.
  5. References: Ask for, and check, references. Most software providers will offer two or three preselected references. Instead request references that are in a similar industry, and include:
    • Short term customers [in the process of implementing];
    • Mid-term customers [one to two years post implementation]; and
    • Long-term customers [three years and more post implementation].

The complexity of today’s business requires an integrated solution to streamline day-to-day activities, connect key stakeholders, and provide accurate and timely data to drive your business forward. As a Certified Microsoft Dynamics Partner, we developed our Vertical Accelerator to shorten implementation time, reduce risk and optimize benefits to increase your bottom line.

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