Set the goal
Digitization is on everyone’s lips. Especially in recent years, many companies are realizing that digital business processes are not just a means to an end, but offer tangible benefits – be it more efficient workflows, better customer service or less administrative overhead.
Going in search of enterprise software with the idea of digitizing your own business is laudable but not very effective. It is better to set a clear goal that is to be achieved with the help of digital processes.
Such a goal could be, for example …
- All our prospective buyers should be tracked digitally and receive an offer within two weeks at the latest.
- Our accounting department should spend 50% less time per month writing invoices.
- Our employees should document their project times online and invoice our customers.
The more concretely you formulate your goal, the easier it will be for you to find the right software solution.
Depending on the goal you are aiming for with the help of the software solution, different processes will be affected – e.g. creating contacts, creating offers, tracking project times or writing invoices. The next step is to map these processes digitally.
Many entrepreneurs or project managers decide on the (seemingly) obvious path of digitally “rebuilding” existing processes. However, company processes have often grown historically and, on closer inspection, are not as efficient as assumed. In many cases, they are only maintained because employees have become accustomed to them over time.
If you invest time and money in enterprise software, you should rather take the opportunity to fundamentally question the processes in your company. In doing so, orient yourself to the desired result, not to the existing process. At this point, it is worthwhile to draw on the expertise of consultants. They will help you sort out your processes and point out ways to digitize them in the best possible way.
You can recognize recommendable software companies by the fact that you talk to your contact person at eye level. He does not want to sell a standard product, but works out a suitable concept together with you, with which you feel comfortable in the long run.
As 5 POINT AG, we have been supporting companies with digitalization for over 20 years.
More than 10,000 users already benefit from the advantages of digital processes.
You too can take advantage of our experience. Talk to our consulting team.
If you are clear about your goal, you have already recorded the first and most important requirement. We call this the core requirement. It is a “must have”, i.e. a requirement that a suitable software solution must meet in any case. In order to achieve the goal, other requirements must often be met. You should also document these requirements.
When evaluating and selecting suitable software solutions, it helps if you divide your requirements into categories, e.g. “Must have”, “Nice to have” or “A”, “B” and “C”. Base this on your goal.
- Requirements that must be met to achieve the goal are given a high priority (“A” or “Must have”).
- Less central requirements that make your (working) life easier, but are not crucial for the goal, are assigned to the category “B” or “C” or “Nice to have”.
You can also use the list of requirements as a criteria catalog for your purchase decision. The must-have requirements are your exclusion criteria. If a product does not meet one or more of these requirements, simply cross it off the list. This saves you valuable time and creates clarity right from the start about what you expect from the software – for yourself and also for the software provider.
The responsible consultants will review your criteria and discuss which requirements can be met, which cannot, and where there may still be a need for adaptation. As a general rule, no software will be perfectly tailored to your requirements “out of the box”. Therefore, orient yourself to the most important points on your list and discuss with the provider which adaptations are feasible beyond that.
If a software meets all the important requirements, you can start testing the software yourself.
Test the application
The purpose of the testing phase is to get a first impression of the software’s interface and to understand the main operating concepts. You should not try to “upload” your company into the test account and work with it productively. Data migration requires too much time and experience for that. If you ultimately decide against the system, the effort was in vain and, in the worst case, you may even lose important data.
If you want to take a closer look at how certain business processes are mapped in the software, it is best to ask your consultant. He has years of experience, knows many tips and tricks, and will be happy to show you the process using prepared test data.
Tip: Nobody expects you to “master” the software after a few minutes and find your way around on your own. Rather use your time wisely, let consultants show you the process and only then try it out yourself.
In order to test a software solution sensibly yourself, you should be clear about the possibilities and limitations of the test phase.
What you can accomplish in the software testing phase:
- Get a rough overview of the software’s functions.
- Get an impression of the “look & feel” and user guidance.
- Try out selected processes using test data as examples.
What you can NOT do in the software test phase:
- Set up the system independently (user groups, rights, etc.).
- Import real data from your existing systems and work with it.
- Run through processes exactly as they are supposed to work later.
Create a shortlist
Once you have gained an insight into the software solutions, you move on to the final decision-making round. To do this, bundle all the remaining tools into a list and evaluate them against your requirements catalog, e.g., using a scale of ten.
You can also weight the individual requirements with a point system. But also give subjective criteria room in the evaluation, e.g. how well your employees like the look of the software or how good they find the user guidance.
Now you only have to do one thing: make a decision. In any case, we wish you every success with your new business software!
PS: After the purchase is before the implementation. In this article, we present 5 typical mistakes in software implementations and give you tips on how to do it better in your company.
Would you like to digitize your company, but are still looking for the right software? Feel free to contact our consulting team. We will help you analyze your processes and discuss your requirements.
You would like to get an impression of projectfacts already? Here you can get your free test account.
Header image: © Priscilla du Preez – unsplash.com (2018)