Software Selection

Trying to pick a system is a bit like trying to navigate through a bunch of blind date options.

Systems Sense Check 

Systems can look great on paper (or profile) and say all the right things before you meet but ‘in real life’ it can be a very different story. Software vendors are not being deliberately misleading. They are putting what they believe is the best option forward when they tell you their system can do almost anything. We call it the ‘software disappointment gap’.

It’s up to you to figure out whether their offer is a good match for your business and sometimes it’s really hard to know this before you get your hands on the product and actually try it out.

How to overcome this?

Be prepared and do the work that you need to. You improve your hit rate at project delivery success when communication works well. This starts well before the project starts. Being clear with software vendors about what is essential, what is desirable but can come later and what is not needed is important too.

You can do this yourself or we can work with you to help you create what’s needed to be able to clearly communicate with software vendors and brief them on the most important needs for your business.

How to overcome this?

Be prepared and do the work that you need to. You improve your hit rate at project delivery success when communication works well. This starts well before the project starts. Being clear with software vendors about what is essential, what is desirable but can come later and what is not needed is important too.

You can do this yourself or we can work with you to help you create what’s needed to be able to clearly communicate with software vendors and brief them on the most important needs for your business.

What is the best way to do this?

We are sure there are lots of good ways to approach this but the way we like to do it is by ‘understanding the now’ first. Whether you’re expecting to take your current processes into the future or not mapping them out can really help people understand the interconnected nature of systems. Typically, we work to produce three key documents:

Current system overview diagram helps us understand existing systems and how the data flows from one system to another and how manually intensive this is.

End to end process flows help us to validate (and question) as a team how we work between departments. In these diagrams we include all the spreadsheets and ‘off system’ processes so that we’re not just looking at systems but also looking at how people interact and move information around.

List of future ‘needs’ or requirements; sometimes we call this our ‘shopping list’. It’s everything that you can think of that you’ll need a system to be able to handle for the next phase of your business growth.

Current system overview diagram helps us understand existing systems and how the data flows from one system to another and how manually intensive this is.

End to end process flows help us to validate (and question) as a team how we work between departments. In these diagrams we include all the spreadsheets and ‘off system’ processes so that we’re not just looking at systems but also looking at how people interact and move information around.

List of future ‘needs’ or requirements; sometimes we call this our ‘shopping list’. It’s everything that you can think of that you’ll need a system to be able to handle for the next phase of your business growth.

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DIY? No thanks. Contact 6R.

Systems Sense Check

We call it a Systems Sense check. But it’s entirely the kind of thing you could DIY. If you think you would like to have a go at that you can sign up here for our templates and examples.

Why do a systems sense check?

Every business is unique. Look, we say this with a lot of experience. We have seen a lot of things (some of them more unusual than others 😉 ) and yes, in an ideal world, it would be one easy answer. It’s rare that one business is an exact replica of another (even when those brands are owned by the same company they can be different in what they need from systems).

It would be so lovely to be able to offer people who ask a ‘here’s one I made earlier’ type of answer to the ‘which system?’ question. It really does depend on the business, on your internal capacity and capability, on what your current systems do well, and of course on your budget.

What are the side effects?

Just like any medication there are often some side effects to reviewing your processes and systems.
Here are some examples that we’ve seen:

Getting longer life out of existing systems by working on improving communication between teams.

Reducing the steps in a process by understanding the end to end needs of everyone in the business.

Using the process flow documents as onboarding /training materials to share with others how the business functions.

Gaining clarity around what does/ doesn’t serve your business and making a decision.

Moving faster through the selection process because you know what you want.

Getting longer life out of existing systems by working on improving communication between teams.

Reducing the steps in a process by understanding the end to end needs of everyone in the business.

Using the process flow documents as onboarding /training materials to share with others how the business functions.

Gaining clarity around what does/ doesn’t serve your business and making a decision.

Moving faster through the selection process because you know what you want.

Getting longer life out of existing systems by working on improving communication between teams.

Reducing the steps in a process by understanding the end to end needs of everyone in the business.

Using the process flow documents as onboarding /training materials to share with others how the business functions.

Gaining clarity around what does/ doesn’t serve your business and making a decision.

Moving faster through the selection process because you know what you want.

I’m ready for templates!

Contact 6R. I want in.

Who is this for?

  • If you’re considering a new system and are not quite sure where to start.
  • If you’re stuck on a process and haven’t been able to figure out how to improve it.
  • If you’re looking to get better value and leverage out of what you’re already using, this is a useful exercise.

    Typically, clients get insight on where things are working and where they’re not, what they might do (even with your current systems) to improve and finesse the situation.

Who is it not suited to?

  • If you want someone to tell you which system to use (we don’t do this, we can help guide your questions and selection process but the choice is yours).
  • If you’ve already decided which system to go with then likely you’ve already done this work (we can support you with implementation too if you need).
  • If you’re clear on what you need to do to improve, how your processes work and what the plan of action is to get that done.
  • If you’re already using your core systems to do everything and align your team.

How much does it cost?

  • We provide you with an estimate at the start of the job and complete the work for that price. The caveat being that we rely on you to be ready and commit to the process.

How long does it take?

In a hurry? We can go as fast as you can.

We have done this in as little as 3 weeks, but that assumes that you’ve got everyone in your business available.

Typically, it takes clients somewhere between 6-8 weeks to organise team members, book sessions and work through the review process.

Who is this for?

  • If you’re considering a new system and are not quite sure where to start.
  • If you’re stuck on a process and haven’t been able to figure out how to improve it.
  • If you’re looking to get better value and leverage out of what you’re already using, this is a useful exercise.

    Typically, clients get insight on where things are working and where they’re not, what they might do (even with your current systems) to improve and finesse the situation.

Who is it not suited to?

  • If you want someone to tell you which system to use (we don’t do this, we can help guide your questions and selection process but the choice is yours).
  • If you’ve already decided which system to go with then likely you’ve already done this work (we can support you with implementation too if you need).
  • If you’re clear on what you need to do to improve, how your processes work and what the plan of action is to get that done.
  • If you’re already using your core systems to do everything and align your team.

How long does it take?

In a hurry? We can go as fast as you can.

We have done this in as little as 3 weeks, but that assumes that you’ve got everyone in your business available.

Typically, it takes clients somewhere between 6-8 weeks to organise team members, book sessions and work through the review process.

How much does it cost?

  • We provide you with an estimate at the start of the job and complete the work for that price. The caveat being that we rely on you to be ready and commit to the process.

What results can you expect?

At the very least you get a set of documents that you can align on and clearly communicate with vendors. However, clients report getting a great deal more out of this process than documentation and a path forward.

The process of working together to agree on what’s needed is the first step in building your teams capability at communicating and navigating all the elements that are needed to implement a change project.

We have a long-standing client who are very technology savvy, they invest early and often. They do their homework; they’ve learnt the hard way that all is not what it seems and put lots of checks in place to ascertain if the software they’re selecting is right before they do so. Guess what? It still happens that the expectations and the reality are not aligned, it never hurts to sense check your thinking with others.  

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