With so many people wanting to talk about software product selection, this week, my last two posts are also about product selection topics. However, a couple things came up in a conversation with a customer that I wanted to write about because they have to do with making the process more affordable.

First, here are the last two posts:
Product Selection on a Smaller Budget
Product Selection – A Trend?

Some Companies Can’t Afford a Full Software Product Selection Process
First of all, while not everyone can afford a full selection process with a consultant, it doesn’t mean that no help is needed. If you have started gathering requirements and looking at products, and if you think you are making progress, you probably really have made a good start. It’s at this point that some companies want to speed the process up or realize they need someone to help them wade through all the products in the industry, for example. For that, you can bring someone in to give a few hours. The problem is, though, that not every company will give you a few hours. Some are going to insist on starting from scratch. Others might have a minimum number of hours to charge that is actually more hours than you will need, in total. If you really need the help, ask around to see if you can either find someone who will do the smaller amount of work -or- someone who can suggest a consultant who might do the smaller amount of work.

Note: If anyone happens to wonder about this, I do not require that I start your process from the beginning nor charge some minimum number of hours. If you seem to have a handle on the work you’ve done and have made some progress, I am entirely on-board with starting with that.

Some Companies Just Don’t Need a Full Software Product Selection Process
Additionally, among the companies that probably have the money to hire a consultant to go through the entire product selection process, starting with workflow analysis, requirements analysis, and etc…, not all of them actually NEED that. Lots of companies have a variety of people with enough skills to do most of this process. Some of these companies also only need someone who can review documents, make sure nothing is missed, ask some extra questions, and give a little direction here-and-there.

Or, it’s not that the company doesn’t have the right people with the right skills but they just don’t have the time to do absolutely all the work required. In this case, it’s not that they need anyone to be part of the process on an ongoing basis but more that they need to push some of the work onto someone else, at times, merely to keep the process from taking too long.

My Apologies if I Made it All Sound Too Easy (Because It’s Not)
Lastly, in the “Product Selection on a Smaller Budget,” I did comment that I thought anyone could do a Google search for products as well as I could. A comment from a potential customer made me realize that isn’t quite true. Because I do know a lot of product names and industry information, even when I do a Google search, I realized that it IS actually easily for me to pick through the multitudes of links that come back and to determine how to narrow them down.

Gloria Metrick
GeoMetrick Enterprises
http://www.GeoMetrick.com/

2 Thoughts to “Making Software Product Selection Affordable to Everyone”

  1. Terry Iorns

    There are some approaches that can make it possible, even preferable, to do a software selection without paying big bucks to a consultant. I do not believe anyone should skip any of the key steps like workflow analysis, user requirements, system selection, risk analysis, etc. A consultant can usually do this stuff faster because they have done it before. However, there is always more project ownership and thereby a better chance of success if much of the work is done internally. Somebody creating a vision and being able to acquire resources is a key component. Attending trade shows and scientific meetings is a good way to become familiar with a variety of products and to hear what other companies have done. If you are going to do it yourself attending a short course or two at the Pittsburgh Conference is a good place to start.

    Most of the projects I did involved me as a consultant doing a lot or most of the work. This is often the fastest way to complete the project. A couple of clients wanted to do most of the work themselves, both to improve ownership and reduce costs. But they were uncomfortable with their lack of experience. They engaged me to provide some methodology guidelines and to monitor the quality of their work. I was able to do a lot of this by teleconference.

    A common problem is that management often waits to be convinced the project is worth doing, then when convinced, wants it done immediately. The scientific meeting / short course approach usually takes a couple of years to really get things going.

    There is a comprehensive and useful listing of LIMS vendors and products in the LIMS Buyers Guide available through http://www.limsforum.com. This is a good way to identify some of the smaller, niche products that may be a good fit for smaller projects.

  2. […] of you who wanted to do a Google search to find products could do it as well as I could in “Making Product Selection Affordable to Everyone.” I got both a response to that AND a new customer with an e-mail that basically said, […]

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