Friday, February 29, 2008

Q. What criteria should we use to make sure we partner with the software vendor who best suits our needs?
A. When considering a transition from one software vendor to another, many complex evaluations should be completed. First, you must establish a prioritized list of features and benefits for your organization. Rank your requirements so that you can match your most needed features and benefits with the software that excels in those areas. For example, you may view delivery routing and inventory control as your top requirements for delivering value to your company. Knowing that, you would then locate software vendors that have the best route optimization, inventory tracking and reporting in those areas. When all is said and done, your list will have dozens of desired features and benefits. Group them into high, medium and low. Then compare the software vendors according to their strengths in those groupings. Be sure to contact a list of current customers to validate that the software vendors demonstrate significant value in the areas they say they do.
Second, evaluate vendors in regard to quality customer support and training. This will have a significant impact on the successful utilization of the software package. Upfront training during the initial deployment, as well as during the introduction of new modules in the future, is key. Without a doubt, excellent training done in the early stages will provide a greater opportunity for success.
Third, allow several staff members to evaluate the software vendors. Remember that multiple layers in your organization will interact with the company you choose and establishing good rapport and relationships are critical to successfully leveraging a software solution. hme
Jeff Woodham is senior vice president, operations, for The MED Group. Reach him at jwoodham@medgroup.com.