How do you avoid making a potentially costly mistake when choosing a tech solution?
The selection of a tech solution is one of the most contentious exercises procurement organisations can go through. There are few other things that so many people in the organisation will come into contact with on a daily basis.
Get it right and you’ve probably only met people’s expectations. Get it wrong and, not only will those people make it known that the solution isn’t performing, but your organisation will also face living with a (costly) mistake for a long time.
There are countless factors that can complicate the process, from a seemingly never-ending list of requirements from across the organisation, to sorting out ‘needs’ from ‘wants’ when it comes to the requirements. And that’s not to mention that procurement teams tend to struggle when buying software for their own department, each member brings their own baggage from working with previous providers, and each individual brings their own personal preferences into this selection.
Even if you think you are going to do things differently, you may end up inadvertently making a mistake somewhere along the line. To help you out on your next tech selection, we’ve compiled a list of the “5 Most Common Mistakes Made When Selecting a New Tech Solution.”
1. Choosing ‘What’ Over ‘How’
Most software selections follow a similar pattern. The selection team meets with key stakeholders and compiles a list of requirements. The requirements are then categorized into groups denoting what is a ‘must have’ versus a ‘nice to have’ and anything in between. This then creates a scoring system that helps score the RFP responses.
That is all good, but what I see many times being missed is there is way too much focus on ‘what’ a solution does vs. ‘how’ that feature/function is being delivered to address your most complex use cases. Even if the feature is something your organisation needs, there’s no guarantee that how it works will suit your organisation and be widely adopted.
2. Picking looks over performance
It’s a new, all-singing, all-dancing system that looks the part. It’s got a sleek, visually impressive and stimulating User Interface. Buttons are in intuitive positions and there’s a color scheme designed to make the user feel more relaxed.
But the look of the solution belies the issues that users will experience due to a poor underlying system architecture. On the surface, any provider can make the simple look intuitive and easy, but what about the more complex use cases and scenarios? The best solutions have the ability to make even the most complex use cases appear easy and intuitive.
And don’t be fooled, sometimes systems that focus only on a few use cases but excel at making them look easy, may lack the depth and breadth to address other key areas your users need.
We have also found that some systems focused so much on making their new tech shiny and appealing to the eye, that they missed building it on a strong foundation. Organizations that have complexity and high volumes may see their systems performance degrade which negatively affects user adoption. No matter how easy the system is to use, if it is not up and ready when you need it, end users will push back.
So don’t be drawn in by the appealing look of a new system. Instead, really get to understand how the system was architected and if it is able to keep the complex simple for your end users.
3. Opting for low cost over ROI
Another thing to avoid when selecting a tech partner is a race to the bottom on price. The cheapest solution is not always the best solution. It may well end up costing you more when it comes to lost opportunity throughout the life of the agreement, cost overruns on implementation, integration, lost productivity and, in the worst cases, terminating an agreement early and going back out to the market.
Procurement, and the wider business, need to understand the true Total Cost of Ownership of all the solutions, which will in turn allow for a more true calculation on the Return on Investment (ROI). In order to calculate this effectively, it is a must to include the difference in savings one platform will achieve vs. the other. Including those lost savings(if there are any) into your Total Cost of Ownership comparison may show that while the cost of the software is lower per year, the true cost is much higher.
So, before you settle for the low-cost option, understand what value the solution is giving back to the business and factor that into your decision-making process.
4. Boardroom decisions without end-user input
We’ve all worked in businesses where a new tech solution is implemented, only for it to fail to deal with any of the key issues it was meant to address. Many organisations do not engage end-users at all or speak to them after the selection has already been made. Only then to find out that the solution that was selected in the boardroom, misses on many of the key use cases.
Not only does this make your employees feel undervalued but it also breeds resentment every time they must use the solution that hasn’t solved any of their problems.
Take time to include your end-users in the decision-making. They are the ones who will use the solution most, so their input could be the difference between success and failure.
5. Failing to Complete a Success Blueprint Prior to Software Selection
You’ve fully detailed your requirements, gathered information and feedback, and conducted an extensive search of the market. You feel like you know which solution is best for your business, because the customer is always right, correct? Maybe not when it comes to tech solutions.
Organizations will frequently select the shiny new object or the solution that costs less. Other times they will go with the software that conduct the best demo or has the best sales team. Those are typically not the best indicators of future success.
Trusting a demo or a great sales presentation is very risky. Planning for success and putting the spotlight on what really matters is key to mitigating your risk and creating a predictable outcome.
The RiseNow Success Blueprint that we talked about during the “How To Make Your CEO Fall In Love With Your Tech” does just that. It also helps organizations navigate the software selection process to make sure success is achieved with the best platform for your organization.
The trick to not making these mistakes is knowing about them in the first place and putting a proven plan in place to mitigate them. Yet even then, there’s no guarantee you won’t make a mistake, but the odds will definitely be in your favor. And keeping these 5 essential tips in mind the next time you go out to market may help you avoid making the same mistakes again.
To go deeper on the perfect tech implementation, tune in to our series ‘Major Tech Fails.’