Today I exchanged email with a person who is going to select the wrong Inventory Management Software for her company. And there’s nothing I can do to prevent it.
Her approach was to come up with a long list of potential vendors, based on very vague criteria. The list included my company, which would potentially be a good fit as we have one of their main direct competitors as a happy and reference-able customer, but also included companies that I know are totally unsuitable for their type of business. She then started narrowing down the list based on who would jump to do a demo for her first. Many ERP and Inventory Management Software vendors will take the time to get to understand your business before rushing to do a demo – we are one of those – but she discounted all of us in favor of the vendors who rushed to show her their bells and whistles as quickly as possible.
So now she has a shortlist of vendors which excludes several products that would be well suited to her (and possibly most cost-effective too). But she’ll never know this, because she’s already removed us from the list without knowing anything about us, except that we wouldn’t rush to do a demo without first understanding their needs. And as at least 2 of the products on her remaining shortlist are definitely not suitable for their type of business, there’s a good chance her company will be doing this all over again in the near future (but she’ll probably no longer be employed there).
So why did she do this? Because she was, in her words, “too busy” to spend the time we required to review her needs.
If you’re starting a search for new business software, don’t fall into this trap. Don’t rush to see demos, making yourself cannon-fodder for snake-oil sales tactics. Choosing the right system and the right vendor requires an investment of time and focus, and enough patience to work through the details of your business processes and needs with several vendors. If you’re too busy to do this, then you’re going to make a mistake, cost yourself time, money and aggravation, and end up even busier.