A Suggested Process for Choosing Software Vendors

Helpful hints on choosing software vendors

As publishers increase size and scope and become more popular with an audience, there are times when upgrades to their software are necessary. We’ve experienced this before as many publishers have as well.

When it comes to successfully making these updates, it’s important to consider all options. Blindly jumping into a sizable commitment could go sour if the software involved doesn’t fit your needs, and you end up wasting a lot of money in the process. We’d consider this a bad business practice and one all publishers should avoid.

Before you make a regrettable move, we have a process you can choose to use while evaluating and selecting new software. This is a process we used first-hand when we were selecting an email management system.

8 steps to consider in the decision process

Step #1: Contemplate the situation and compile a list of criteria that is important to your organization. You should be gathering required criteria that are necessary in successfully running your business.

Step #2: Create a list of products or vendors you have interest in. Design the list based around the time you have to devote to the process and the money you are able to spend.

Step #3: Begin a more extensive search by looking for external resources that hold related information. For instance, research companies may have reports that evaluate the type of product or vendor based on specific criteria you’re interested in. These types of reports can often be purchased and have a lot of in-depth data. From these reports, it’s easy to create an additional “short” list that likely includes only information on vendors from the report.

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Another way of researching involves speaking with people you know and trust who have a similar business model. This will allow you to get first-hand information that directly correlates to your business. An online publisher looking for an adequate email management system can greatly benefit by asking relevant questions to another online publisher who is already using an email management system of interest.

Step #4: Begin contacting the vendors on your “short” list and ask them for demos. Many of these vendors will be able to provide such demos and the opportunity to use the product first-hand greatly helps in the decision process.

Step #5: Evaluate each of the demos based upon the criteria you compiled in Step #1. Take notes on which are helping you achieve the desired results.

Step #6: After you’ve narrowed down your choices, write a Request for Proposal (RFP) and submit it to the proper vendors.

Step #7: Ask the vendor for references so you can get an idea of what other professionals think about the product.

Step #8: Ask for a proof of concept phase. This phase helps to test any risky elements of the project and will put value behind the final decision.

Hopefully these instructions will help in any big decisions you have to make on software or vendors. Choosing the right components of your business is extremely important if you want to be successful in your endeavors.

For first-hand, report-worthy information on choosing the content management system that is right for you, join us on September 21st when we host a live webinar entitled WordPress vs. Drupal vs. Telligent: Which CMS is Right for You? This webinar will include three experienced technology professionals who use these content management systems and will openly discuss their insight on the systems.

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