All Promise and No Reality
Software demonstrations are great and open your minds. I've sat through hundreds of them and often get excited when I see what possibilities lie before me. When you see the demo, you know how the product will change your life and do exactly what you have been looking for!!!
Until you install it. Then, reality hits.
The software does what the demo promised. Yet, it doesn't do what the demo promised in your circumstances or environment. Your process is different even though it didn't seem like it at the time. Your needs, while exactly the same in almost every respect, are different because of some nuance that isn't clear during a demo. Often times, success with a new technology requires you to invest a lot of time up front but most of us just want the technology to work.
Don't blame the salesperson for demoing their product and highlighting the best features. Salespeople don't know your process, they know their software and how it was designed to operate. If you are considering making a significant investment in software, be sure you have a strong IT leader and consider hiring a consultant if not. Consultants should be able to see where the software fits (or doesn't) with your process.
Good technology requires a good fit. A good fit requires a process to work with your technology. A new technology usually, but not always, requires a change to your process.
Don't be afraid to change your software and processes. It will likely make you better. But be skeptical of all promises and do your homework when you are considering a change.
Here are four things you can do to make a good decision when considering new software.
- References - Talk to existing people who use the software and find out the reality.
- Process - Examine your processes reasonably carefully and consider whether or not what you do today can be modified to work with the new software. Great software usually improves your process but the pain of new process can derail your success even if the process is better.
- Testing! - You have to test. You have to have a trial and you have to use the trial in a real world fashion.
- Expert advice - Find someone you trust that knows your process and technology and have them help you.
By the way, these tips work with just about every important business decision. Hiring, selling your company, partnering and, of course, software.