How do I find a suitable Enterprise Software?
You have found a possible business software for your requirements and now you are faced with the challenge to put the system through its paces. But how to do that without investing effort in training and setting up the system? In this article we would like to give some help on how it can still work.
Basically, no one likes to buy a pig in a poke, so you are not alone with this problem and many of your colleagues are already doing the same or similar.
Here is a little thought experiment: Imagine you have planned 4 days for testing your new enterprise software and you have 4 systems in the shortlist. With the same time allocation to all four systems, you will invest 3 days in systems that you will never work with later. If you could now somehow manage to tell within an hour per system whether it is worthwhile to continue testing and thus concentrate on 2 systems, you will make better use of your time.
The goal is to identify and weed out unsuitable systems as quickly as possible. This includes not wasting your time researching or poring over manuals. Ask questions! Most vendors will be happy to answer your question and show you their system. It doesn’t get any faster than that.
The following questions should be answered in advance for you and your company:
A: What are things that need to work?
B: What are things that you definitely want to test or see?
C: What budget do I have available and with how many colleagues do I want to work productively on the new system and by when?
Our Tips and Recommendations for your Test Phase
Tip 1: State your Expectations
Write down in keywords what you are looking for and expect. This facilitates the search immensely, because firstly you are ready to speak in case of queries and secondly you can concentrate on this during the search. It is your text, so keep it as short as possible, as long as necessary. Keep it realistic and please no novels that water everything down.
Tip 2: Create a Criteria Checklist
Create a checklist of criteria that are important for your decision. Try to divide these criteria into roughly equal groups in terms of importance.
A: Must be fulfilled 100%.
B: Should be fulfilled
C: Nice to have
Tip 3: Develop Use Cases
Try to develop use cases from criteria A and B, i.e. describe processes, how you can map and test these and what you would expect.
Tip 4: Take Advice
This is probably the most important tip: Do not try to map your use cases in the software you do not know. This firstly costs unnecessary time and secondly an enormous amount of nerves. Just ask if you can get a product presentation to clarify your requirements quickly and competently.
If you don’t want to contact a consultant, you should watch our video tutorials first. For teamspace you can find a collection of tutorials under “Getting started”. You can find the link in your test account as well as at the very bottom of the teamspace homepage. Via the tutorials you will learn basic operating concepts and also learn something about methodical concepts, but beyond that it means a lot of work for you to find out if your requirements are met. A conversation with a competent contact person is the fastest and easiest way to check whether the software fulfills your requirements.
Tip 5: Check Exclusion Criteria
If there are already criteria in the presentation that are not met, cancel the test. You have invested about 1 hour and can use your time better with other systems. In the other case, ask for a test environment if they don’t already have it and also arrange a follow-up appointment directly for interim questions.
The “cancel” tip also applies to the rest of the process, of course. I.e. if at some point criteria arise that it should not go further, simply address them and the process will be aborted. This is simple and straightforward and saves the time of everyone involved. Our consultants also see themselves as technical advisors rather than hard-nosed salespeople and are grateful for a clear statement.
Tip 6: Test by Yourself
As long as your rough requirements are all feasible, move on to the actual testing. The important thing to remember here is: only try your luck on your own after the particular solution presentation to get a feel for the software. As you test, write down all the things and questions that come up. There will probably be a few, but don’t take any notice of them. At the follow-up appointment with your consultant, clarify everything, have them show you things again, or discuss new requirements.
Testing is teamwork
This way you save their time and use your consultant’s time effectively. The further the process progresses, the more confident you will be in your decision.
Always remember: Your consultant is the expert for the software and you are the expert for your processes and requirements. Together you are a good team.
Good luck with testing teamspace.