You have the right to demand that any vendor prove their solution will solve your company’s specific business problem. Canned demos are designed to deceive.
Questions to Ask Vendors:
- Can you prove to me that you will solve my business problem, using my employees, departments, projects, etc.?
- Can you provide references of clients that have successfully integrated your product with my accounting system, my project management system and my payroll service provider?
Keep in mind that the speed with which a vendor can configure the software during a demo can usually accurately predict the functionality of the system after it is installed at your company.
SaaS Offers Flexibility
If the software is 100 percent Web-based (and it should be to avoid obsolete technology and installation problems), you can run it from any server on earth. Software companies can deliver technology via two different models: installed at your location or rented by you and running on the vendor’s site. The latter approach is called software-as-a-service (SaaS). There is no reason a provider can’t offer both options.
SaaS allows early rollouts, server protection and easier upgrades. In early rollout, the vendor lets you temporarily use the SaaS site while your IT shop deploys the machine purchased for your local installation. Server protection is the process of sending a backup to the vendor in case your local installation fails. SaaS allows easier upgrades because you’re provided a test site during the upgrade process that requires no hardware purchases on your part.
Questions to Ask Vendors:
- What sort of backup generator do you have in case of a power outage at your SaaS site?
- Where is it hosted?
- How many connections to the Internet does your SaaS site have?
- How much does server protection cost?
- Can I roll-out on your SaaS servers and later transfer the data to my own servers?
- Where are SaaS backup tapes stored?
- What kinds of security and fire suppression capabilities exist at the hosting site?
Look Outside the HR Department
When payroll executives implement time and attendance systems to automate payroll, they often miss the chance to facilitate greater profitability throughout the entire company.
The time data they collect, if collected appropriately, can also be used to automate project management, project costing, project tracking, and project estimation improvement. Additionally, the data can be used for internal, external and reverse billing automation.
Think back to that requirements gathering portion of the timesheet software selection process. Bring in R&D managers, marketing folks, and A/P people. Have an entire selection team. Yes, it may be harder, but it will unleash profitability that you didn’t know you had available.
Don’t let the generic stock demo pull you into a hackneyed deal; by following these tips, you can be a software-purchasing hero for your company.