Are you about to select a digitally based solution for your organisation?
For making the best choice, make sure you have done your homework before talking to any of the potential suppliers.
Packaged solutions are perceived as the most cost effective solutions – but very few people appreciate the pros and cons of bespoke v’s package solutions. Simple, bespoke solutions are often better and more efficient. Too many buy complex Accounting Packages that then limit their subsequent digital progress.
List aspects of the solution that you consider are absolutely essential. – Some parts of the solution will be “Must Haves…”, others are “Nice to Haves…” make sure you have really thought through what you need from the solution, and what can wait till next time if budgets prohibit their use this time. What information do you need to hold, what processes and reporting outputs are needed?
What types of changes need to made and how are these undertaken? eg. VAT rate is 20% at present, how is this changed to a new and different value when this need arises?
Don’t forget Security. Who will use the system, how is access managed and restricted? Is this suitable for your needs? Data Protection and Data Integrity issues? Backups and Service Continuity?
Review Suppliers and their ability to support your needs, initially and in future. What will be the impact on your business if they cease trading or become unable to support you for the time you expect to utilise their solution?
What happens next? Your business needs and the market will not stand still. Good Business Planning will indicate some of your more predictable future needs, new inventions and legislation changes will happen too. How flexible is your proposed purchase? You will not want to change it too often so consider your needs to be able to adapt in future.
Failure to consider the specific digital handling requirements – Leads to project overruns, waste, inappropriate purchasing decisions, disruption and sometimes even worse business and service failures.
Each of these listed aspects of choosing and buying are big subjects in their own right. Make sure you or a member of staff has sufficient skill to make the decisions effectively on your behalf. In some cases you may feel adequate coaching and training will meet your needs. For the much bigger purchases, if your team are not experts in this aspect, consider hiring an independant expert to assess any or all of the proposed solutions for you. This will ensure that you are well informed to make appropriate assessments of the risks and benefits of each solution, helping your decision making and overall management.