Our positioning on choice of IT tools
In most cases, business departments (finance, real estate, human resources, etc.) are our main contacts.
Sometimes IT departments are the ones who ask for support in choosing a tool, but this will probably be within an medium-sized company and probably when choosing an ERP or a cross-functional solutions such as the Electronic Document Management (EDM), rather than when choosing a business solution.
Approach and content
Our approach is quite traditional. An initial phase of needs analysis and drafting of specifications is carried out in parallel with the identification of the solutions a priori selected.
This identification of relevant solutions is often based on benchmarks of market solutions (ERP, monitoring tools, TMS, business software packages, etc.).
Then, the exchange phase with the editors makes it possible to answer editors' questions but also to better understand certain functionalities or technical constraints of a given solution. Finally, the last phase allows the analysis of the offers and the drafting of the elements of choice for the customer.
However, Akeance Consulting has strong differentiating features. Indeed, the first phase is particularly thorough.
It allows the project to be framed: its scope of functionalities, subsidiaries, geographies, …, its expected volumes, the expected level of automation, etc.
This framing stage is key during the choice of a tool to secure the final choice and avoid disappointment if compared to the initial expectations that were not properly formalized at the beginning of the project. The technical specifications are in the same spirit: they must be precise, using text and not bullet points, so that every stakeholder can share and review the need and increments/amends/modifies it before it is sent to the software company.
Paradoxically, the purpose of these technical specifications is not so much to meet the publisher's needs than to ensure the good understanding of the client company.
The analysing and drafting phase of the criteria requires to present as many scenarios as possible and above all identify all the arguments without taking sides.
This is an exercise in itself, as the Akeance Consulting teams are familiar with possible solutions for their client. It is imperative to let the company make its choice by its own.
Each time, Akeance Consulting will present a simplified roadmap for each scenarios.
Launching a project to change tools phase by phase is dangerous
Some companies request support during the initial scoping of the project or while drafting their needs, without going any deeper in putting the project into perspective.
This runs the risk of reducing this upstream phase to an exercise that is too imprecise / too unrefined.
Indeed, an initial scoping of the project can take four days for a few slides of information to the teams, or four weeks to carry out a real kick-off of the project.
It always seems to us preferable to include this first phase in a complete vision of the project's progress, even if it means negotiating the budgets as the project unfolds.
Comparing tools may lead to dreaming of the perfect tool
It is tempting, as you go through presentations, to ask for the functionality of tool A, the price of tool B and the technical constraints of tool C... This is quite normal. However, the risk involved is more dangerous. Indeed, the final choice might rely on too much specific development or too many interfaces, which are usually sources of dissatisfaction.
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