I recently reviewed a client’s plans and documentation for their software search, and came away with three observations which might prove helpful for you, too, should you be planning a search any time soon.
- Be realistic about your timing. In a recent blog post I wrote about the “planning fallacy,” and how it’s quite easy to be overly optimistic in setting schedules. Yes, you’d like your new system implemented quickly, but the process is a time consuming one. And it’s best to allow for adequate time for proper due diligence. Rushing to meet an unrealistic schedule can lead to the selection of the wrong system.
- Get your scope set properly. This particular client is looking for a performance attribution system; however, their requirements clearly indicated that there were needs that went beyond attribution. Often we have clients who say they want one system, when in reality they’re looking for more. Clarify what your needs are, so that you select the right type(s) of system(s).
- Do a thorough needs analysis. Firms often fail to do a complete needs analysis, overlooking important requirements. I recall one client’s who documentation once was a small fraction of what it ended up becoming (prior to our involvement), because of the lack of a thorough and complete review. Make sure all of the critical areas and key contacts are included in this analysis.
Software searches are time consuming, and require skills that many firms don’t have in house. It also means taking key staff away from their primary jobs, which can have unattractive consequences. This is one reason firms like The Spaulding Group are often asked to participate. While there is no requirement to include a consultant, you may find that even a minimal amount of support from an industry specialist can help you ensure a smooth and successful search.