Evaluate CTMS software like an IT pro: part 3
Oops, I forgot a requirement during the user specification process. How does the vendor handle software adjustment and unscheduled client requests for new configurations?
Requirements today may not be our requirements tomorrow, depending on several factors – and many are external and completely out of our control. If your requirements suddenly change after you’ve signed the contract, how will the vendor meet those challenges? Can you configure reports or new data fields “on-the-fly?” Or must you wait for hard coding to be completed and implemented in the next release? And how long will you have to wait?
Speaking of new releases…
Please don’t force me to update with every new release. What is the vendor release schedule, and are you required to continue to update your software even if the new release does not offer incremental value to your business?
New releases can be costly and will require additional resources to implement. If the release can provide you with value, the benefit of upgrading is clear. However, this is not often the case. With a valid software license, is the vendor willing to support older releases in perpetuity?
Do you take my input seriously? Do you have the opportunity to influence the product roadmap?
Does your vendor have a regular process for soliciting feedback from their customers to ensure that their evolving business needs are reflected in upcoming releases? This should be a baseline requirement, and your prospective vendor should be able to readily point to the communication channels through which they solicit feedback from their customers on a regular basis, as well as examples of feedback that has been implemented. Never rely on the tired promise that “it will be in the next release.”
Does your vendor offer the CTMS as a cloud-based solution, an onsite solution, or both? Today’s business needs are diverse, and while more companies are moving toward cloud-based solutions, there can still be valid reasons for running the data backbone on site. Many vendors offer only one type of solution; ideally you will find a vendor who offers both. Why? Because that signals flexibility, competence, and innovation.
Next up: Bells and whistles, the monitor visiting process, and how to evaluate the user interface.