Digital Investment Series, Part 5: Evaluation
As a follow-up to my previous blogs about investing in digital transformation, I would like to provide some guidelines about choosing the right vendor or product for your company.
Technology and Vendor Evaluations
Let's say you have successfully identified business goals for which automation, self-service, or website redesign is a priority. Your budgets are allocated for new investments and spending on your current technologies' day-to-day maintenance and security. The next step is to determine what you need and to select the right vendor, software, or hardware. Easy, right?
Many leaders go directly to selecting a company they know or saw in an advertisement without conducting a proper evaluation. Making decisions this way can be costly, frustrate those using the digital tool, and create resistance to change. We have a simple process we use to identify and select technology, vendors, and service providers:
- Determine who will be on the selection committee and who will be the final decision-maker.
- Meet with key stakeholders to understand the features and functionality required (must have) and desired (nice to have). Group these specific requirements by feature to make it easy to focus research, questions, and review of the product, person, or device.
- Identify a minimum of three and a maximum of six providers to review. If there are more than six, determine a simple evaluation to narrow down those to a maximum of six to examine in detail.
- Rate the prospective company against your company's core values.
- Review the provider's ratings (Google, Gartner, or Clutch), self-service capabilities, account management, and overall documentation or knowledge database.
- Conduct reviews, which may include the following:
- Hands-on review
- Proof of concept or pilot evaluation
- Stated features on website
- Others' comments/reviews
Note: It will not be possible to validate every requirement or feature in a hands-on review or demo. Sometimes you must rely on the vendor or others who have reviewed the product for the rating.
- Have each reviewer document their evaluation on their own spreadsheet. Since some people get stuck on the rating scale, provide a guide (see ours below), and encourage consistency by individuals across the evaluation.
- Once all individual reviews are completed, average the scores for each particular requirement rather than calculating the average rating per provider. This allows you to identify specific risk areas when making the final selection.
- Review the product roadmap to understand where the product is heading. You may not want to select its product if the provider isn't investing in regular improvements.
- Compare pricing models.
If you want to use our template, you can download it from our Google library.
Digital Transformation Consultation
Are you considering switching technology vendors or implementing new software within your organization? Schedule your one-hour digital transformation consultation with me today; I'm happy to help you get started.
Meet the Author: Sheila Burkett
Sheila Burkett, Co-Founder and CEO of Spry Digital, is a networker, mentor, collaborator, philanthropist, and community leader. Her passion is helping women and people of color succeed in technology, in business, and as humans. In every facet of business and community, Sheila is a champion for helping people feel like they belong and can thrive.
She is happily married and a proud mom of three amazing men and two dynamic daughters-in-law. In her spare time, she can be found reading, gardening, and shopping for antiques. Most recently, she has been honored as a 2023 St. Louis Titan 100 and 2022 YWCA Leader of Distinction.