Software evaluation

The right IT solution with the right selection methodology

Choosing the right IT solution or platform is one of the most important success factors for companies. In addition, they have to adapt their planning to changing value chains and market conditions faster and more flexibly than ever before. Make or buy, cloud, hyperscaler, best-of-breed and bimodal IT are buzzwords, framework conditions and questions that decision-makers in companies need to consider as part of a differentiated software evaluation and the associated market exploration. In our opinion, three further criteria are of central importance.

Elementary: Recognizing value-added areas

Instead, a targeted software evaluation is always geared towards the processes that a company goes through. It is important to consider whether a company is planning to purchase an IT solution that covers standard accounting processes, for example. A very elementary question that must be clarified as part of a selection process is therefore a clear definition of the areas in which a company achieves its added value or competitive advantages.

Create clarity and calculate TCO accurately

Another key factor that must be considered as part of a software evaluation is the calculation of the total cost of ownership (TCO), i.e. the calculation of the full costs associated with an investment in a new IT solution. This applies regardless of whether the development of customized software or the implementation of standard software is ultimately being considered. This consideration should always include the so-called opportunity costs, i.e. costs for support, maintenance, licenses or power users.

Involve users and create a high level of acceptance

A third and also very important criterion that companies should be aware of as part of a software evaluation is both the number of users and the way in which they are to work with a new IT solution. The design of an IT solution and the functionalities it provides are decisive factors in how high the acceptance of new software is among users. To avoid shadow IT or a lack of acceptance, we at PTA are committed to a user-centered methodology for software evaluation.

Low user acceptance is the most common reason why the introduction of new IT solutions fails. The reason is obvious: if employees feel uncomfortable in a new software environment or cannot find their way around, they generally do not understand the purpose of the changeover. This is why we at PTA follow a multi-stage methodology as part of a software evaluation for our customers, in which we create a target system and cover the entire user level in the specialist departments, the IT department and controlling.

In a pairwise comparison, we ask them about a number of functional and non-functional criteria, such as whether company size appears important to them on the provider side or whether market share plays a more significant role, whether the quality of support is the main priority or whether greater value is placed on emergency concepts. In this way, we evaluate the degree of fulfillment that a new IT solution must provide from the user’s point of view. After a detailed cost analysis and consideration of whether customized software or a standard solution better meets the criteria, the stakeholders determine the weighting of the functional and non-functional criteria as well as the budget. Sustainability criteria can also be incorporated into this evaluation process, for example as part of the implementation of the Supply Chain Duty of Care Act (LkSG) and the associated requirements.

Identify predetermined breaking points through event storming

In some evaluation projects, a process analysis facilitates the selection process considerably. This records the current status of processes in the company and compares this with a target status. Understanding a specific process flow doesn’t really sound like a big challenge. After all, every user who goes through it many times a day should be familiar with it. So much for the theory. In practice, however, many questions often arise in our many years of consulting in a wide variety of projects, even with simply structured processes. This is why we deliberately use event storming, a methodology that gives us a comprehensive and shared understanding of the processes we are putting to the test. In this way, predetermined breaking points, silos and bottle necks in the process sequences can be reliably identified. These results provide valuable insights into how a new IT solution should ideally be designed and dimensioned in order to enable a company to achieve high added value.

How to: Software evaluation from PTA

Introducing and establishing a new IT solution or IT platform in your company does not have to be a tightrope act: Even if you as a stakeholder are convinced of the benefits of a particular IT solution, it will only be used efficiently if you achieve a high level of software acceptance within your team. Benefit from our unique method on the market and our many years of consulting expertise in software evaluation. Actively involve your users in the selection process. Use our event storming, create a common understanding of the central process flows in your organization and thus increase the acceptance of a new IT solution among the entire workforce.

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Dr. Frank Gredel

Head of Business Development

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