Far too often, the promise of a new technology falls flat amid grumbles and resistance from the user base, before ultimately being labeled as “failure.” You could chalk this up to a disdain for change, and that’s part of it - but in most cases technology choices are made poorly, which leads to goals not being met.
Let’s explore some of the common mistakes made during technology selection and how you can avoid them.
#1: Prioritizing features over value
When evaluating a potential solution, most decision makers focus on features rather than the value that the solution will bring about over time. It’s not about the features, it’s about understanding your firm’s goals and what you are trying to achieve, and then associating that value to a specific benefit generated by a particular feature.
Why do so many get this wrong? We tend to think technical specs clearly translate into benefits and looking at the technology at the surface-level, rather than how it will help to solve your needs. This most frequently occurs when there is no c-level involvement in the decision making process.
#2: Disregard of future needs
In this case, future needs are not addressed and decisions are made without the strategic vision being shared. This often occurs when decision-making is delegated to the user and administrative levels. While it is important to explore the operational level and user experience of any new solution, focusing your efforts solely in this area means that you do not address anything beyond the present. Therefore, you are likely to choose a solution that will not be a good fit for the firm’s long term needs and goals.
#3: Single party decision making
When choosing the right technology solution, you should involve several different parties and constituents throughout the firm to provide their perspective and voice their specific needs and vision. However, it is not uncommon for one person or specific team to make the decision. A decision that is based on one perspective is likely to be missing many factors of consideration. Furthermore, when one person or individual team makes the decision, you fail to earn buy-in and may struggle with user adoption later on.
Here is the core group of people that should be part of the discussion:
- The user: how easy is the solution to use? Does it meet their needs? How likely are they to use it?
- The c-level: does the solution meet the firm’s strategic needs and is it a viable long-term solution?
- The IT director/manager: how much will it cost to deploy and manage the solution and does it align with the firm’s needs in terms of scalability, reliability and security?
- Risk & Compliance: is the solution capable of meeting our firm and our client’s requirements as it relates to risk, security and compliance?
#4: Dismissing the importance of ROI
In making a purchasing decision, the cost of a new solution is central to the conversation. However, many decision makers fail to go beyond budget to look at the potential revenue value of the software over time. More importantly, you and your firm need to feel comfortable with the expected ROI, play with different models and settle on projections that are realistic to your firm. Simply looking at cost is not enough of an indicator as to whether a solution is a good long-term fit for your firm.
Choosing a technology and a great technology vendor is not an easy process, however you can avoid failure by avoiding the three mistakes listed above. How do you approach vendor selection at your firm? Share your experience in the comments section below.