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Impartial Research About Enterprise Software Is Hard to Find

Written By: Rahim Kaba
Published On: November 1 2011

A software selection project requires a well thought out plan that details what you need from a new or updated solution. The process often begins with careful research and determining and prioritizing your functional and technical software requirements. While doing your homework, you’ll no doubt come in contact with a plethora of vendor white papers and marketing collateral to help you grasp the capabilities of their solutions. However, if you’re looking for impartial, original research about solutions in the marketplace, you will find TEC Certification Reports helpful in narrowing down your search.


Certification reports are produced by TEC analysts and designed to help you evaluate enterprise software solutions so you can make more informed buying decisions. They are not meant to replace a full-fledged evaluation, but they do provide detailed analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of solutions that have undergone the TEC Certification process.


If you have a working list or a preconceived idea of the solutions that may be a good fit for your organization and want to investigate how the solutions stack up against others in the industry, TEC Certification reports are a good place to start. We’ve done a lot of the legwork for you and classified these reports by evaluation model (e.g., discrete manufacturing, talent management, supply chain management, etc.), covering thousands of enterprise software features and functions that are modeled to reflect real-world use.


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In-depth Analyst Insight
The TEC Certification process requires that the vendor deliver a formal product demonstration based on a script designed by TEC analysts to show how the product supports specific real-world business processes. Having seen the product in action, and as a byproduct of this process, the analyst writes the certification report, which includes an in-depth review of the solution’s ease of use, workflow design, ease of implementation, and innovation. This information can be used as supporting documentation for potential software buyers at later stages of their evaluation to help them zero in on key areas of focus for an eventual onsite demonstration by the vendor.

In the report, the analyst also provides an overview of the functionality benchmarks for each module (e.g., financials, distribution process management, retail and commerce, etc.) and how the solution compares against functionality supported by the average solution in the market. These benchmarks can be particularly useful in understanding how your high-level requirements are addressed by solutions on your working list and determine whether there is a general fit.

The TEC Focus Indicator
The TEC Focus Indicator (TEC-FI) is a relatively new addition to our certification reports. It outlines which types of functionality are most likely to differentiate solutions from one another. The TEC-FI is not meant to directly compare solutions; rather, it shows how a solution’s functionality compares against the industry benchmark. For example, if your organization is looking for robust human resources (HR) functionality in an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, the TEC-FI can help pinpoint whether the ERP solutions you are evaluating offer competitive HR functionality relative to other solutions.

The TEC-FI includes three zones indicating the product’s technical focus: the Dominant Zone (green), Competitive Zone (white), and Minimal Support Zone (red). While vendors will generally deliver a common base of functionality (to satisfy most customers’ requirements), it’s very helpful to understand how a product really differs from the crowd. Here’s an example (based on TEC’s ERP for distribution evaluation model):

TEC Focus Indicator
This particular solution is dominant in both financials and distribution process management. It is less competitive with respect to retail and commerce functionality (offering a level of support that is slightly lower than the industry average). This doesn’t mean this is a so-called “weak” solution. On the contrary—if you’re a company in the distribution/logistics industry and specifically looking for a solution with strong distribution process management functionality, but not necessarily in retail and commerce, then this may in fact be a solution worth evaluating further.

What’s important to keep in mind is that even if a product has modules outside the industry average or in the “Minimal Support Zone,” it may still be capable of satisfying all your requirements, particularly if the “average” solution offers more functionality than you require.

If you’re interested in reading our published certification reports, please visit the TEC Certification Reports section of the TEC Web site, and read the TEC Newsletter, where the publication of these reports is regularly announced. We also offer an extensive library of TEC Original Research, such as buyer’s guides, articles, blog posts, and industry reports to help you further research software solutions available in the marketplace.

What Do You Think?
Have you used TEC certification reports to research and evaluate enterprise software solutions? Is there something you would like to see that we don’t currently cover? We’d love to hear from you, as we look to continually improve our research offerings for the end-user community.

What Next?
As mentioned, TEC Certification reports are in no way meant to substitute the full evaluation of a solution. Depending on your level of knowledge and resources available at your company, TEC offers very specific tools and services for the enterprise software buying community.

For example, with our Web-based software evaluation system, TEC Advisor, you can compare and shortlist the solutions that fit your specific requirements, based on their level of support. This system is designed to help you manage the massive amounts of product information you’ll gather during your selection project. In addition, TEC provides Software Selection Services to help guide organizations through the entire selection process—from initial research through to the final implementation.
 
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