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Outlined below are a series of steps you should consider during your software search/replacement. These steps do not have to be followed perfectly for a successful search, however, setting out and sticking to timelines, like those outlined below, are very important for success.

Stage Process Duration
Set Priorities
  • Set aside the time required to make an important decision like software replacement
  • Establish and stick to a timeline to accomplish tasks in manageable stages
Evaluate Requirements
  • Perform analysis on business processes
  • Determine what works well with current software and where gaps exist in functionality
  • Establish outline of functionality requirements from a business process perspective (not software function)
  • Determine the required software tier (segment)
1 month
Research Software Vendors
  • Search industry and software sites to find appropriate software vendors
  • Avoid the use of consultants that are pricey and often biased
  • Select an appropriate number of software vendors to evaluate (typically 6 or more is too many)
1 week
Contact & Engage with Software Vendors
  • Most software vendors will expect time from you to discuss business processes and requirements
  • Demos should not be expected or offered at this stage – vendors would not know your business well enough to perform a demo catered to you
2 weeks
Short List Vendors
  • After preliminary discussions with vendors, demos should be performed
  • Shortlist vendors based on what can be shown, not on what is promised
  • Narrow down vendors to a maximum of 3
2 weeks
Select Vendor
  • Compare vendor demos and discussions with business requirements
  • Consider “soft” criteria such as comfort level with vendor, honesty, personalization etc.
  • Should be completed 2-3 months before desired implementation date at a minimum
1 week
Pull the Trigger
  • Once a vendor has been chosen as the winner, immediately begin the implementation process to avoid delays
  • Anxiety at this stage is common but largely misplaced – a vendor that has been selected with due diligence is the right choice

If you want more detailed information on the software buying process, feel free to download this Software Buying Guide.