By Ray Emirzian, Vice President of Operations & Product Management, docSTAR
Follow docSTAR on Twitter @docstarsoftware
Often companies want to purchase the latest and greatest automation tool because of industry buzz without fully determining if it is the best possible long term solution for their businesses. Whether your client is choosing a new ERP, CRM, or enterprise content management system, enterprise level technology buying decisions are crucial to their business. Helping your clients make the right technology purchase can make or break that company’s success and your status as a trusted advisor.
When evaluating a large scale or enterprise wide technology “buy” decision consider these 5 key factors.
1. Total Cost Of Ownership
Total cost of ownership (TCO) is the first thing to consider when making a buying decision. If the TCO is greater than the budget assigned to it, there will be financial challenges. TCO takes into consideration all up-front, as well as on-going costs (such as maintenance, upgrades, training and so on), for the period of time for which you are measuring the ROI. The technology should come with a reliable and responsive support system to prevent or minimize additional costs down the road. The cost of automating new technology is especially important to consider if the return on investment (ROI) is not measured in real dollars, but rather in more intangible benefits.
2. Return On Investment
While the ROI can be difficult to predict, it is critically important to have specific measurements in place prior to — or at the time — the technology is installed and integrated. You will also need to finalize agreed upon expense reduction or efficiency expectations for the new technology and over what period the company will meet those milestones. ROI is not always immediately quantifiable; however, the best approach is to advise your client to plan for it in an effort to protect valuable business assets. While many factors affect ROI, measuring and adjusting along the way helps to confidently measure the benefits gained from implementing the technology your client selects.
It is vital that all the key stakeholders who will use technology be involved in the decision making process. This helps to ensure that there will not be a major cultural issue, such as technical skill level required, ease of use and the actual time involved to perform functions the old way versus the proposed new way. With the trend towards mobile employees, companies are investing heavily in mobile and Web applications. This has led to an additional focus on securing identity management and personal devices.
The relationship with the vendor should be considered when selecting a technology. Do you have a previous relationship with the vendor? Have they worked successfully on projects of this size and with organizations in your client’s industry in the past? Do they have the resources to address your implementation plan? You will be working closely with the vendor so it is important that they are able to provide all the services required for success.
Will the technology scale? New technology is a big investment for your client, and it is important to consider not only the immediate needs of the organization but the future needs as well. Cloud-based options are growing fast. According to SailPoint, 63 percent of companies are now requiring IT decision-makers to consider cloud services when adding new software. The vendor must evolve as well to suit the changing needs of the business. Make sure you carefully evaluate vendor capabilities.
Taking into account TCO and ROI, and determining that the technology acquisition is culturally acceptable, it’s time to make final plans with your client. The business side realizes now more than ever that technology is integral to business planning and strategy, and things like leveraging mobile applications and creating efficiencies through cloud services will be huge.
By considering these key factors and applying your industry expertise, you will ensure that you are helping your client choose the right enterprise software technology.
docSTAR a developer of enterprise content management and AP Automation software, delivers innovative solutions in the cloud or on-premises (private cloud), which can be integrated with many ERP systems to enhance productivity and business processes. Nearly 7,000 organizations across the US depend on docSTAR, from every industry including insurance, financial services, healthcare, real estate/property management, manufacturing, legal, non-profit, education, banking and financial institutions and the public sector. docSTAR is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Silver ISV (development) and integrates seamlessly with ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, AX and SL, SAGE, SAP, Oracle, Netsuite and more. Visit www.docstar.com.