Key Factors to Remember When Selecting Any New Enterprise IT

1 - Key Factors to Remember When Selecting Any New Enterprise IT
2 - Cultural Fit
3 - Engagement Factor: It's All About the UI
4 - Vendor Growth Trajectory
5 - Application Flexibility
6 - ROI of Application Speed
7 - Prerequisite User Skills
8 - Internal Support Requirements
9 - Fewer Moving Parts With Single Vendors
10 - Make These Tips Part of Your Next Buying Discussion
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Key Factors to Remember When Selecting Any New Enterprise IT

by Chris Preimesberger

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Cultural Fit

It's not about whether their sales rep takes you to a posh enough bar for happy hour. Your company spent a lot of effort defining its values and goals, but sometimes these are forgotten when choosing an application. If your company vision puts you on the cutting edge of technology in your market space, why make the "safe choice" by selecting yesterday's IT vendor? If your organization values great user experience and transparency, your tools should deliver that same level of access and visibility to the employees in the organization.

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Engagement Factor: It's All About the UI

The second-most cited reason for leaving a job is a lack of engagement. If you're not engaged, it's hard to bring your best self to the office every day. How engaging will this application be for your end users? Why not choose something that will be fun for them to use?

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Vendor Growth Trajectory

When you get a road map presentation from the vendor's product manager, can you understand the product direction? Does it align with what your company wants to accomplish in the coming years? Sure, if your spending with them is big enough, you can force them to develop features, but does their direction truly fit with what you need? And if what you need is so specialized that you can't find that vendor, maybe what you really want is an in-house custom application. If you don't have the resources, consider buying out an excellent boutique development firm.

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Application Flexibility

The world is changing fast. Today's star application may become tomorrow's shelfware. Is the solution flexible enough to handle things you haven't even encountered yet? Take Adobe Photoshop as an example. It was the best digital photo editing software of its time in 1992. But when the World Wide Web became the publishing platform of choice, it was also the best image editing software for GIFs and JPEGs. And today, decades later, it still is. Photoshop only costs a fraction of what you spend on enterprise applications, so make sure you consider this kind of flexibility when you choose a long-term solution.

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ROI of Application Speed

Everyone runs ROI numbers for any significant purchase. But do you calculate how much it costs for each second it takes for an employee’s screen to redraw? That's a hidden cost, but it's often a high one. Every second that the answer doesn't appear is an opportunity for the person waiting to check Facebook or see what's available on Airbnb this weekend. Speed begets productivity and engagement, and you shouldn't overlook it.

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Prerequisite User Skills

Be honest with yourself about the skill level of your users. If they'll require a week of training in SQL and data modeling in order to use the tool, it had better provide enough value to take them away from their other responsibilities.

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Internal Support Requirements

Most buyers ask what IT headcount is required to support the application. But what about supporting end users that are having problems using it? Sure, you can buy the highest level of support (premium, platinum, or whatever the vendor's marketing department wants to call it). But that still probably only gets you two named support contacts. What happens when Sam from HR needs help with his spreadsheet? Whom should he call?

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Fewer Moving Parts With Single Vendors

When it comes to deploying and maintaining a solution, the number of moving parts matters a lot. That's why iPhone owners are generally happier than owners of other phones. It's easier to track down problems when you're not dealing with three connected systems from different vendors. And it will be easier to find the information you need when you don't have to weed through three different sets of vendor documentation, filtering for your OS version and hardware configuration, in order to isolate a problem.

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Make These Tips Part of Your Next Buying Discussion

Next time you're looking at software, consider including these things in the discussion. It may involve more than checking a box on an RFP, but if it leads to a better decision, it's well worth the effort.

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