We’ve been deploying LOIS for almost 2 years now and we invariably get asked how our clients should choose a system.
For myself, as a CFO (and the veteran of many system selections), it boils down to 6 key questions, of which several are consistently overlooked.
Having clients matters – You want to confirm that the vendor has clients live in the system and you should know how long key functionality has been working. Ask yourself: even if it looked great on the outside, would you really take a ride in that first autonomous car? It’s not a good look to find that the brakes don’t work when you’re already rolling!
Technology counts – Software is always changing and improving, so the ability to regularly and seamlessly upgrade makes a difference. That’s why SaaS is so popular: it adapts to real-world experience and market demands, without you having to lift a finger to gain the benefits.
Size is key – The ability to go large or small, depending on what you need. Do you really want a massive software vendor that promises an enterprise solution but lacks the agility and resource to quickly get things done? Or, conversely, a small vendor that may jump to your demands but can’t scale as requirements grow or become more complex? Due diligence on prospective vendors is key to determining their ability to bring both scale and flexibility.
Getting asked the right questions – Your vendor needs to understand what must happen to make your project and BAU (business as usual) that follows a success, which means having the experience to ask you the right questions. Its not just about the sale, you also want someone that understands the problem, can be a partner and add value to your business.
Cost counts – But it’s not just the cost of the vendor solution. You need to consider the full life cycle of the solution, including your internal resource requirements, external advisers and any risk of the product not performing and unbudgeted costs being incurred. Ask yourself: how much could this cost if I cut corners and things go wrong?
Check the off ramps – It may be that you have a good relationship with an existing software vendor but their new solution falls short on one of more of the questions above. There’s always critical functionality that you must have and should trump all other considerations, so don’t settle for an existing relationship when it can’t provide what you need. Instead, leverage the tool that works now and look to fall back to existing relationships once they are ready.
Find out more about LOIS here.