Dan Heffernan

7 Steps to Guaranteed Failure When Shopping for a Major Software Application

Over the decades, we have heard horror stories of organizations who have chosen the wrong system or application to accomplish some major task (sales order processing, subscription management, CRM, membership management, etc.), so we’ve honed a list of the steps, which, when strung together, can guarantee failure. That is, the wrong system will be chosen, which will cost your organization lots of money and years of wasted time. Now, it is possible that failure will occur by simply executing any of the 7 failure steps! So, if it’s failure you’re chasing after, you could be closer to it than you think.

1. Make sure you are unclear about your requirements, so you can’t communicate them to the software vendor. After all, if you’re clear, you might slip in your communications and let the vendors know what you really need. This could be the first step in your path toward non-failure, which would, in itself, be a failure. Right?

2. Automatically flock to the latest shiny and bright new system that seems too good to be true, regardless of its ability to meet your requirements. See #1 above---if you aren’t clear about your requirements, then this will be easy---just concentrate on the flocking and ignore what the application actually does. There are those catch-all software names that cause people to stop asking questions. If anyone in a meeting asks how you are going to accomplish such-and-so, just respond, “we’ll do that in SellPower,” (or whatever trendy software you’re going to be using) and the questioner will stop asking questions.

3. Don’t talk with experts/consultants/colleagues in the industry to find out who they recommend the list of players be. If you do speak with such persons, you might get actual solution providers confused with vendors who will promise to provide whatever solution you ask for without actually checking to see if it will meet your needs.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, ask for references, but if you do, make sure you don’t talk with those references. After all, why would you want true experience to confuse your decision-making? Choosing is hard enough.

5. Shop for price only---all the solutions must be the same, right? So the cheapest must be just as good as all the others.

6. Do not consider working with solid, established companies, because they have experience which might guarantee success. Also, they might be around years from now when you still need them. Instead, go for the lean and inexperienced start-ups with no track record of success. They’ll make up for their shortcomings with boundless energy (and billable hours).

7. Do not pay close attention during software demonstrations. Don’t ask “how” the software will do something. Stay out of the weeds. Just Imagine that cool new software being used by your organization, and life will be good.

Now that we’ve given you the top steps to failure, let’s just add that an attitude of limitless optimism, no matter what fiascos occur, will further solidify your results. Don’t be realistic…just trust that everything will work out. And it won’t. Guaranteed!

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