If you’ve followed along in this article series about digital transformation, you know the importance of conducting a systems review and inventory and identifying your organization’s unique bottlenecks and pain points. Once you have this basic information in place, it’s time to consider software to help you complete your digital transformation.
Gather Your Team
Because most of the software that you’ll need will be used by multiple departments, it’s important that each department using it has a say in the final choice. Begin the software discovery process by gathering a team of representatives from each department who will help you review, evaluate, and choose the final software system.
Of course, IT should play a major role in the team. Partner with IT or other staff at the organization that are technology or accounting/finance savvy. Ask for their help gathering contact information from potential vendors and creating your request for proposal or project description.
Write the Project Description
A project description or request for proposal can be a big help when evaluating multiple software solutions and vendors. It will help you compare “apples to apples” when looking at all the different packages available.
Write out a description of the project, including key features needed and any other important information the potential vendors should know. Your IT department can fill in any information gaps they think potential software system vendors should know.
Other important information that you should share with the software vendors you’re working with during the discovery phase include:
- The current software systems and technology you’re using (system review)
- Needs analysis and requirements gathering (process mapping, pain points review)
- Team members—their names and roles in the organizations
- Decision-making process and the steps involved
- The project timeline, including steps involved
Find a Consultant
An excellent way to save time and avoid software systems that aren’t right for your organization is to work with a software consultant though the initial discovery and vetting stages. A good consultant gets to know your organization and its pain points and will help you winnow out the products that aren’t the best fit for your needs. They may also know of software systems unfamiliar to you or your team that you should consider and will help you evaluate all the pros and cons of the various solutions under consideration.
Should You Share Your Budget?
Some companies are reluctant to fix a budget number to the project. They fear they will get taken advantage of if they have a large budget or ignored with a small budget.
Project budgets are important because the budget does determine the array of choices. Imagine walking into a car dealership and not having a budget in mind. It will be hard for the salesperson to help match you with the right vehicle if they don’t know your budget—your budget may be for an economical sedan or a luxury vehicle with all the bells and whistles.
You’ll end up wasting time looking at all the wrong vehicles if you don’t share your budget, and the same holds true for software projects. Have a budget range in mind and be honest with your consultant and vendors about funds available for the project. They will help you find a solution within the budget or help you understand the options available to you.
Vendor Turn Off
Sometimes, the software is right, but the vendor is a turn-off. Perhaps their salesperson rubs key team members the wrong way. If that’s the case, don’t ignore the software just because the vendor sets your teeth on edge. The same holds true for a charming or knowledgeable vendor who just doesn’t have the right software for your needs. Don’t follow a wonderful vendor into a bad software decision, and don’t ignore a great software package because of a bad vendor.
Ready to Begin?
The software selection process for an organization’s digital transformation should be taken slowly and thoughtfully. If you’re ready to begin, you now have the information you need through these articles to help you get started.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact us for more information.