You’ve done the research, you’ve asked the questions, and hopefully you’ve narrowed down your options for potential IWMS providers. Now it’s time to let each company give you a demonstration of their product. While most of the pressure is on the vendor at this stage, it is still critical that you properly prepare for each demo. While it will soon be time to start making some difficult decisions, knowing what to look for during each meeting will help you narrow down your selections even further when making your final decision.
This is the time to sit back, ask questions and take detailed notes. This is the first opportunity you’re going to have to really get to see each program compared to its competition. It should help you better identify the one IWMS that best fits your organization’s needs now and in the future. This is your chance to view how the business tool works, what your user experience would be like and see if the tool would offer the value you’re expecting.
Unfortunately, there are many missteps that can hinder the effectiveness of demonstrations, leaving you short on both time and the knowledge to make an informed decision. To aid you in this step of IWMS implementation, we’ve constructed a list of the most common demo mistakes. Remember, the whole purpose of this investment is to make the best decisions for the organization; and it begins during the consideration stage.
Going Into It Without Fully Understanding Your Needs
Discussing the business’ needs and goals, and how a new IWMS will help meet those needs is critical to a successful software demo. Considering how the facility operates on a daily basis and what processes need an overhaul will help in determining which modules are most important and which software delivers the right product. This is the time for you to look past the price and really gather some useful information. Consider the system’s features and think about ways they can be used in your business to improve productivity and enhance workforce engagement.
Including Too Many People (or the Wrong Ones)
The old adage “too many cooks in the kitchen” comes to mind for this scenario. If your company has 14 different departments, and each department head is allowed in the room during the demo, you run the risk of confusing the entire process. It’s important to have a balance of strong workforce leaders present, to ensure your workforce is fully represented, but too many cooks will make the demo less productive and effective. Build a strong evaluation team and then hold meetings to ensure everyone understands exactly what the goals are, moving forward.
Evaluating More Than 5 Solutions
Many of us are of the mindset that the more options you have to choose from, the better the outcome. Studies reveal, however, that this is not the case.
According to a recent study of economics and statistics, “…if you have a smaller choice set, you tend to do better. There is a lot of information that you have to go through, and you have to understand what all of those things mean, and from that information, figure out what’s best for you. You can’t do that while choosing from 16 options at a time.”
The demos themselves can take hours, and you will have a lot of information presented to you during that time. Narrow down your prospective software/vendor list to 5 or less before starting the demonstration process. Just because you’ve attended a demo with a specific vendor doesn’t mean you’re tied to them forever. If none of your first options work out, you can always go back to the drawing board; it’s better to find out now than later.
If you’re having trouble narrowing down your list, take a moment to read our blog 10 Questions You Should Ask Before Scheduling an IWMS Demo.
Allowing the Vendor to Control the Demo
It’s important to remember the purpose of the vendor representative during the demonstration process. While they hopefully value your enterprise’s short and long-term goals, his or her primary role is to sell you on how their software solution is the best. When given the opportunity, many will do what it takes to hide any shortcomings, highlighting only what they want you to see.
Allowing the vendor rep complete control over the demo might save you the effort of having to write up a demo script, but the demo will generally be less effective. You run the risk of missing out on valuable information that could be the deciding factor in your decision, causing you to make a less-informed decision. Open up the dialogue BEFORE the demo, express your organization’s needs and concerns, and develop a static demo script. This will help in the scoring process and allow you to really understand what advantages and disadvantages each product has when compared to the others.
Rushing the Process and Settling for a Quick Demo
Regardless of how much knowledge you have gained regarding Workplace Management Systems, the demos are a critical step in the buying process. A quick PowerPoint presentation isn’t enough to really get a feel for how intuitive the tool is, what the user experience will be like, or what its capabilities are out in the real business world. This is a huge investment decision; one that will affect every member of your workforce. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for more details. If the representative doesn’t happily offer more information, they are likely not the vendor you want to align yourself with long-term.
Making investment choices for software can be stressful and tedious, if you aren’t prepared to ask the right questions and assess the vendor’s demos properly. And, although you’ve more than likely properly vetted your short list of vendors, the demonstrations they present and the responses they give to your assessment team may truly make or break the partnership between your organization and the vendor. Make sure your vendor/client relationship is rock solid now so there are no surprises in the future.