How to find solutions that are highly adopted by your organization
Selecting technologies with buy-in from the organization is the key to driving innovation
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Investing in software solutions that align with your business will streamline processes, boost customer satisfaction, and reduce risk. Finding the right solutions is essential for your business to grow and maximize its potential. Companies spend months evaluating vendors, running RFPs, demos only to get to implementation to find that the project leader never heard a key group of stakeholders, vendors under-delivered or a key integration was missed. So, how can this be done? In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to selecting software solutions that your organization will actually use; creating a plan, understanding the business case for the solution, creating requirements, identifying relevant stakeholders, identifying and inviting vendors to respond to requirements, shortlisting and demoing vendors, and ultimately choosing the right solution.
1. Look at your company’s current state and create a digital transformation plan.
Before selecting your organization’s software solutions, it’s critical that you analyze your business’s current state and create a strategy for digital transformation from your findings. First, a company needs to analyze its current state against the goals it seeks to achieve. A SWOT analysis helps identify strengths that the company can lean back on during the process.
2. Create a digital transformation roadmap to determine a business case for the new solution
Olive’s software selection platform can help build a project roadmap and see it to completion. It can help you evaluate solutions based on company needs. You can use olive to plan your digital transformation goals and the accompanying projects. Olive allows labeling of projects, allowing you to visualize goals you intend to complete over the next few years.
3. Deeply understand your company needs in the form of well-written requirements.
After completing the first two steps, you will feel more confident about your business needs. The next step is to rank and define your must-have requirements list and the non-negotiables that the software solution must have.
4. Identify the right stakeholders to collaborate with, so you can gather, understand and rank the business requirements according to the needs of the business
Identifying the right stakeholders is essential because they can help discover the business needs when evaluating solutions. Finding and working with the right stakeholders is key for digital transformation and can help you with:
- Highlighting the right business problems to solve
- Identifying crucial features of the software
- Avoiding requirement oversights
- Avoiding band-aid solutions
- Evaluating requirements suggested by others
- Ranking priority requirements
- Raising compatibility issues
- Championing the software implementation
- Constructing the best workflow process using the software
Next, you will need to identify who your stakeholders are. It can be beneficial to group stakeholders into the following categories:
These are the people who will interact with the software most frequently, whose job it will be to use this software, whose problems you are trying to solve, or the department that the solution will impact the most.
Indirect stakeholders are the secondary users impacted due to using the software. These stakeholders traditionally are consumers of the output generated by the direct users or the creators of the input needed by the software.
These groups enjoy the fruits of the direct and secondary user labors. The beneficiaries can be the customers, customer support staff, leadership team, or anyone who benefits from improving the solution.
‘The Project Team’ are the key stakeholders and collaborators responsible for finding the right software to meet the needs of your users. They must be able to gather, assimilate and organize the requirements from the necessary stakeholders. Once requirements are gathered, the team will decipher between essential requirements and nice-to-have requirements. Finally, they must assess the stakeholders and understand which opinions to prioritize.
5. Determine a long list of software vendors that could potentially meet the needs of the business.
This process stage should list as many vendors as possible within your bandwidth that meet the general requirements outlined. Through research, identify a list of software vendors that can provide the services and software required. Reviews can be helpful in looking at the product from a user's perspective, as you can gain great insights from online reviews, such as what their customer support looks like or any unexpected outcomes from previous projects. Vendors pay to play in this space on most software review websites like Capterra or g2 crowd, so reviews may be biased. After you have done your research, send vendors your requirements and make sure they understand them completely.
The next step is to ask vendors to respond to your requirements. After you have reached out for a demo, do your due diligence in ensuring that you are choosing a solution based on your business’ needs and goals, without bias, with plenty of input from various stakeholders.
6. Invite vendors to respond to requirements in Olive in lieu of an RFP
If the thought of writing a painstakingly long RFP gives you a headache, you can invite vendors to respond to requirements in Olive in lieu of an RFP. Olive takes long lists of vendors and boils it down to a shortlist that is assured to meet your needs. Olive does not charge vendors, and we keep your identity from the vendors until you decide to bring them to demo, so you can be confident that there is no bias on the shortlist.
7. Create a shortlist of software vendors that meet the needs of your business
Narrow down your list by focusing on the best-suited vendors for your particular business needs.
8. Validate your shortlist of software vendors against your requirements
In the rush to solidify a suitable vendor, businesses often fail to validate their shortlist against the requirements accurately. To ensure you avoid this from happening, BIM Learning Center recommends asking your short-list the following questions:
What kind of support does the vendor provide?
What options are available for training?
How does the vendor handle software updates?
Does the software solution meet your budget requirements?
9. Demo the vendors shortlisted
When shortlisting 3-5 vendors, it’s best to conduct demonstrations of potential solutions. Visit the vendor’s website to schedule a demo. This will give you a good idea of the company’s customer support. Take your time conducting the demo, and ensure other stakeholders are demoing the product simultaneously.
10. Choose the right software solution for your enterprise
Be the right choice based on all of the above criteria. Your software selection needs to align with the needs and expectations of your stakeholders. Including key stakeholder perspectives leads to higher implementation rates because optimization starts from the get-go. This allows for issues to be spotted and addressed quickly.
Making the right choice on a solution requires a thoroughly collaborative process that involves key stakeholders. To find the right solutions, companies must be agile, collaborative, and work together to avoid bias. The software selection process isn’t a one-and-done concept. If you need some help with yours, consider Olive. Olive lets you find the right solutions in collaboration with key stakeholders and vendors in one app, reducing time to implementation. Contact us to learn how Olive can help you collaborate with your organization to find solutions that get used.