There are a number of ways to approach software selection projects, some of which are more six sigma focused such as the quality function deployment (QFD) framework and some are not as academic in nature (i.e., selection based on a brand name). Either way, the goal of a software evaluation is to establish criteria for which individual requirements will be evaluated against to satisfy our client’s future needs. I recommend a balanced scorecard framework, where four key criteria are used to evaluate software (weighted based on relative importance to the client). These criteria are as follows:
After evaluating these four criteria, each software vendor will have a weighted overall score.
You may be asking, “Why is Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) not included in the balanced scorecard”? We purposely do not assign a weight or grade to the TCO. The TCO should be calculated carefully and considered alongside the weighted score but shouldn’t be graded (I will discuss the specifics of why that is in a later blog post in detail). The total score for each vendor is then compared to each vendor’s TCO and potential ROI to make a cost vs. value-based decision on what solution is right for your company.
In every software selection I’ve led, my clients have peppered in qualitative feedback throughout the lifecycle of the project, which is always valuable. But, using this quantitative framework provides a simple way for my clients to define their priorities up front and then evaluate software side by side using the same criteria for each. When the final score is produced by this framework matches your “gut feel,” you’ll be satisfied that you have done the proper diligence and you will be confident in your decision!
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