Taking Measures for True Success: How to Choose Software That Meets Your Needs

A failed software implementation can cost companies millions in wasted time and money. To ensure your software selection project isn’t a sorry statistic, use the right metrics to gauge your success. Time, budget, and functionality aren’t enough--focus your efforts on requirements analysis and definition. Take measures to ensure your software meets your needs, and discover how to perform accurate requirements analysis.

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Software Selection (and Implementation) Failure

You’ve probably read about recent large-scale software implementation failures and their costs to companies. More than $33 million lost, as a project goes over budget and time. In excess of $54 million spent, and the project cancelled before completion. Revenue loss of $100 million, as the new software fails to successfully integrate with the old. These are just some examples—global averages are often difficult to accurately determine due to companies’ reluctance to publicize failed projects.

Or maybe you’ve already come across the startling statistic that two thirds of software selection projects are unlikely to deliver a successful outcome. Is the success of a software selection and implementation project really nothing more than a happy accident, and almost completely beyond your ability to control it? Why is the rate of failure so high?

One main factor Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) has observed is that the less-thaninspiring rates of success noted above often boil down to the organization’s current experience and historical success with larger-scale implementations involving complex functionality. In other words, the success of a software selection and implementation project depends on whether your current internal resources are sufficiently skilled and experienced to define your organizational needs.

Software Selection Success or Failure: Dangerous Metrics

But in addition to considering your internal resources, it’s important to realize that the probability of success also depends on how you define success.

Organizations often employ “fuzzy thinking” to determine the metrics that define a successful software implementation project. Companies have a tendency to use three common metrics: if the project was completed within a scheduled time-frame and within budget, and brings the full-spectrum of new functionality to help automate processes and improve efficiency, then the project is deemed a success.

However, what many companies—upwards of 60 percent of companies—don’t take into account is that completing a project on time and within budget means nothing if the software itself doesn’t meet the needs of your organization.

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