You’ve reviewed plenty of technology vendors and have narrowed it down to your shortlist. Each can help you achieve your goals, so how do you determine which one best fits your business?
Here is a step-by-step guide based on Function Point’s experience with hundreds of agencies over the past 19 years. If you haven’t made your vendor shortlist yet, check out our how-to guide.
Step 1: Create a Feature-by-Feature Comparison Chart
At this point, all potential vendors have your ‘must have’ capabilities. By creating a more granular feature-by-feature comparison sheet, you can determine what additional value each solution will provide. You may be surprised and see a solution stand out right away.
Step 2: Weigh the Importance of Each Feature
When buying a pen, you want one that does not break, is easy to hold, and writes smoothly. However, one person might value a pen that is harder to hold and does not break for years, while another prefers a pen that is easy to hold, even though it will break after 6 months. Picking software is no different. You want to weigh how important each feature is to your business.
The most common method to do this is to rank the importance of each feature from 1 to 10 and then rank the performance of your shortlisted vendors for each feature.
Step 3: Calculate the Anticipated ROI
Once you’ve weighed each solution’s functionality, you can compare the anticipated ROI for each vendor. The most common benefits we see in an ROI calculation for project management software are:
- Time reclaimed from improved clarity on tasks
- Money saved from fewer over budget jobs with clear budgets and spend at each stage
- Revenue gained from increased tracked billable hours
- Higher customer satisfaction with projects delivered on budget and on time
- Better workload and profit forecasting
- Increased profit margin from efficiencies in the time to complete tasks
Just think: if you save $500 on every job by implementing a solution that accurately estimates projects and tracks their costs, with a 10% profit margin, you’d actually gain $5,000 in revenue per job!
Step 4: Deployment and Support Plan
An experienced vendor will have a plan ready for what a successful deployment will look like for your team. They will know how much time your team will need to commit weekly, as well as how many training hours are needed, and offer flexibility with the training program to fit your business. Be sure to ask your shortlisted vendors for customer references to find out what this process is like from people who’ve been through it.
Step 5: Make the Decision and Commit
Pulling the trigger is the hardest part. There is a fear of change, fear of the unknown, and most importantly, fear of failure. At times like these, remind yourself why you started looking in the first place. What are the consequences of not moving to a new solution? What benefits will you gain when something new is implemented? What would it look like for the business, or yourself, if these benefits existed today? Remind everyone on your team of the benefits throughout the process to keep them excited about the new solution.
Remember that you will not find a solution that checks every box on your wishlist. However, by following these steps, you will come as close as possible to your dream software.
Brand & Product Coordinator
Marissa was raised on a steady diet of mountain and ocean activities. She's a product marketer by day, reader by night, and human being by day and night.