Selecting a COTS System?

If you’re selecting a piece of technology to further automate your business processes, we’ve got a few suggestions based on our experience with clients:

1. Ensure your manual processes are documented well.

In order to properly ascertain whether the software solves a problem, business processes must be documented to the fullest extent within the organization. In consulting with clients, organizations create silos and distinctions between departments or business units. Upon documenting all core processes, organizations often find silos or distinctions to be unnecessary.

Certain organizations and companies need distinction for security, privacy, and other liabilities; however, some organizations have preconceptions that each business unit is so ‘different,’ which doesn’t hold up during the documentation or business-process re-engineering process.

Having well-documented business processes clarifies needs and prevents fiscal spending on solutions that don’t solve critical business needs.

2. Validate that modifications or custom integrations are minimal.

Nothing is worse than paying large sums of money for something, only to have to spend more money than anticipated making it properly function. Sitting through 4-hour (or longer) demos can be soul-sucking but asking questions and scheduling follow-ups to ensure you have a clear understanding of how this solution will integrate with your current technology will be crucial to your ongoing success.

You can’t plan for everything. Additionally, there are always things we miss at the beginning of an implementation that will come to light later. There are always going to be costs you can’t plan for, but it doesn’t necessitate spending a large amount of the budget on unexpected costs.

3. Shrink away from add-ons or up-sells.

Software salespeople and all salespeople work on quotas and pipelines. They’re held to a certain amount of sales to get their bonus, get a raise, or get paid. It’s just part of the job. Salespeople aren’t bad. They’re professionals just like everyone else. The great salespeople have a clear understanding of who their target customer is and how an organization should interact with and profit from their solution.

Just become someone recommends an add-on, an upsell, or an addition to the offering for a COTS solution for the organization doesn’t mean it suits your needs. They’re salespeople. They’re selling you something that they think might work, but you know your organization the best. They have a vested interest in the result of your conversation. Ensure the recommendation aligns with your business processes, your needs, and will serve your implementation.

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