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Over the years I have received questions about what a good software solution is for cost calculation, profitability analysis, transfer pricing, etc. And even though I have worked with many of them my answer would be, I do not know. There is no ‘One fits all’ solution. When you sell a particular software, like I have done for almost 15 years, you want to believe that your software is the best. And maybe it is… for a certain group of companies. The point is that every software has its own characteristics and features, and every organization has its own needs and wishes. The challenge is to match those.

My experience with EPM software selection is that it is often centered around software features and barely touches the organization and user needs and wishes.

When a software selection is facilitated by a 3rd party expert it is very likely that you will end up with an Excel questionnaire that covers 100+ questions regarding software features. In most cases that list of questions reflects all, or almost all, features of the software. Whether those features have any relevance for the organization remains an open question.

I like to compare a software selection with buying a new car. Do you really want to know all the specifications of a car? Maybe not. You focus on those that are important to you. For some acceleration or top speed is important, others need a big car, whereas others look for specific features, etc. The point is that selecting a car is done differently by every person. And a good car salesperson does not push or oversell but he or she will ask a few questions to know what type of buyer you are and what you are looking for. No rocket science.

Software selection needs more focus on what the organization and users need and want and not waste time on features that are not relevant for the organization and users.

Sometimes organizations have an IT policy requiring software to be from a specific vendor unless you can make the case that the solution of that vendor is not workable, a showstopper. Basically, that is a negative ‘selection’ process. Even though this is not a real selection process I do like the fact that the user has to go (back) to the drawing board and (re)consider what is really important for the organization.

Next post I will explain why ‘Need’ is not the same as ‘Must have’ And ‘Wish’ is not the same as ‘Nice to have’ and why that difference is important for a software selection process.

Post Author: Frank van Vliet

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