Software Implementation Advice: As grandma says, "the cheap option could be costly"
My dutch maternal grandmother had a catchphrase that has stuck with me from early childhood (The Dutch have a phrase to cover everything from bad weather to old shoes) and it was “Goedkoop is Duurkoop”, or for the linguistically challenged, “a cheap buy can be expensive.”
Setting Realistic Expectations for your Software Implementation
When companies invest in software solutions there is generally a focus on unlocking the benefits from the software solution and getting that for the best possible value. My grandmother’s phrase rings in my ears every time I hear someone trying to negotiate on price when it comes to software implementation, often before they understand what is really encompassed in the services. These days, simpler consumer products may sometimes set the unrealistic expectations that enterprise software systems should be as easy to install and use as downloading an “App” to your phone. In many cases the sad reality is that it could be more like jumping out of your family sedan into a helicopter and expecting to be able to fly it – being sadly disappointed, of course.
The good news is that if you have selected your software application solution carefully and it operates on a ubiquitous platform that can grow as your business does with additional plug in software applications as you need them, then the first part of your challenge is addressed. No doubt you will have wisely selected a fit for purpose application that will not require hundreds of hours of custom code to meet your needs, but rather only really requires configuration using the applications’ built in interfaces. The Salesforce Platform is a ubiquitous cloud platform, and with its robust security and scalability many companies such as FinancialForce.com have chosen to build their applications on this cloud platform from the ground up.
What to Consider when Evaluating Software Implementation
For the end business consumer the decision of which software application they should adopt can be somewhat muddied by various vendors pitching their various flavours of cloud and capabilities. Many businesses end up committing to bespoke solutions that will work famously for them for at least 2-3 years, or at least until the next system upgrade requires a complete rewrite of the code, something that could end up costing them more than the initial outlay for the system. Heaven forbid a business builds their own system in-house and then the system designer decides to retire or leave.
Sage 21st Century advice is to select an application solution built on a ubiquitous cloud platform that looks after the hardware, system software and security maintenance for you, meets your business requirements and can be configured and customised using Clicks (Not code) for any idiosyncratic challenges that your business may have.
When it comes to unlocking the value of your new software application, rather than negotiating with your vendor for reduced implementation costs the wiser move would be to ensure that you are getting trained on how to manage and maintain the system yourself. By the time you get to the all important Go-Live you should be proficient at running your own system and not have to call the consultants back every few months to write new reports or make screen field or layout changes. Before you look at haggling with your implementation services provider you may want to first validate whether they are providing a sustainable robust solution or whether it will require rewrites or code testing for each upgrade. Do they implement first then train you later?
How FinancialForce.com Handles Implementation
At FinancialForce.com our global professional services teams believe in the approach accredited to Confucius: “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” We are 100% geared to train you on our solutions as we implement with you and the focus is on training you to use our applications so that once you Go-Live you should be able to manage your own application and then leverage our support team as required. Configuration of our applications is done by clicks-not-code and it is more the exception rather than the norm to have clients ask for, or require, additional services post-implementation.
So the next time you look to negotiate on price for implementation services, perhaps my grandmother’s words will help to guide you on getting the best value rather than just the best price.