ERP & ENTERPRISE SYSTEMS
Software Evaluation Is So
Much More Complex
The rapidly changing business
environment has caused software evaluation to evolve,
and organizations that do not
realize those shifts will be left
with inadequate solutions and
an increased chance of IT failure. These new trends have
complicated an already difficult software evaluation
process due to cloud, SaaS,
IaaS, PaaS, SOA and Web 2.0
—Keean Persaud, managing director,
rganizations are now shifting their priorities on a different set of
evaluation criteria such as business agility, business process
management, social capabilities and vertical expertise.
Business agility is the ability of the software to quickly adapt
to changing business conditions and processes without much vendor engagement. Many new systems are incorporating richer user interfaces and easier
configuration options to enable the customer to do most of the changes themselves. Since many systems are on par with respect to feature/functions self-configuration is heavily being considered within the evaluation process.
Business process management is now a unifying link that can reside inside
or outside the software. The business process engines contained within the
software often allow integration and unification of disparate systems. This is
one method that software vendors use to combine functionalities and unite
their own software. These new business process engines allow for decision
making capabilities, offer BI/EPM visibilities, and collaboration. They also
define workflow, dataflow, and creation of approval triggers. They allow
changes to be tested without disruption to current process through data modeling. They can facilitate sharing information upstream and downstream to suppliers and partners; a major shift from before.
Social media capabilities have become an integral part of the software evalu-
ation paradigm. Enterprise software vendors are beginning to incorporate these
applications into their software via integration or as a part of the SOA platform.
Organizations now realize that software is pretty much equivalent in functionality and use the vertical expertise of the vendor as a differentiation point to
select the appropriate vendor. Organizations sometimes mistakenly compare a
vertical specific solution to the base application which is often more general in
nature (a common mistake). The ability for the vendor to distinguish itself
within a vertical may prove beneficial to the evaluating organization. Vendors
must show they understand the customer’s business and consequently their
support requirements for their industry.
For 2012, software evaluation priorities will change to include cloud and SaaS
criteria as ROI and TCO are now calculated differently. Organizations need to
have an enterprise technology strategy and understand where cloud and SaaS
technologies reside and how they may be utilized. Since software evaluation
priorities have shifted in prioritization considering business agility, business
process management, social presence and vertical expertise carry as much
weight or more than traditional feature/functions.