Technology solutions are the backbone of an efficient enterprise. Your ERP system manages and tracks resources, your CRM platform handles critical customer data, your managed file transfer software moves encrypted files in high volumes, and your document management product keeps you from drowning in paper forms. For all those solutions to run as smoothly as possible, you also need an overarching automation platform.
Even if you are providing high-quality products or services, a poor choice of software can prevent your business from being competitive. Replacing that software or customizing it to do the things it should have done all along will be even more costly.
In order to get it right the first time, here’s how we recommend you approach looking for new enterprise software.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
If you are considering investing in enterprise software, you have probably already identified at least one major inefficiency in your current processes, and maybe you already have an idea of how that problem could be solved. You’ve worked in the industry for a while, and you know how to write a custom script to fill a gap in your current solution’s capabilities. Or you used a tool years ago at a previous job that could address the problem you’re having now.
Don’t make the mistake of starting your software selection process with a product already in mind. Instead, set some high-level goals. For example, maybe you want to save your team from needing to work extra hours, or maybe you want to improve the accuracy of a certain process.
Step 2: Investigate Requirements
This is the part where you determine exactly which features your new solution will need to have to achieve the goals defined in step 1.
A common oversight during the requirement gathering process is to rely on end users to tell you what they need. You should definitely be talking to the people who will use the new software; however, you can’t rely on them to know exactly what kind of solution they require. Each user’s perspective is limited to his or her own tasks, and they will probably all have some blind spots when it comes to the possibility of making large changes to the overarching processes.
This article from CIO recommends the technique of reverse engineering, or coming up with a list of requirements based on the features of potential software products. Read user documentation or watch demo videos for a variety of products, and rewrite the feature list as a list of requirements. Once you have the list, you can work on determining which of the requirements applies to your organization and how critical they each are to the goals outlined in the first step.
If you are looking for an enterprise automation solution, we can save you some time on this process. The Enterprise Scheduler Decision Toolkit comes with a comprehensive checklist of requirements for enterprise job scheduling software, as well as an interactive budget worksheet to use in step 3. You could also easily use the checklist from the Decision Toolkit as a framework to create your requirements list for other types of software.
Step 3: Determine Your Budget
You may already have an idea of what you can spend on your new product. Make sure you take into consideration the resources you will save once the solution is implemented. Hopefully, the software will save you time. It may also prevent you from having to hire more employees in the future. Other factors which will affect your budget include:
- Annual maintenance costs
- The cost of any downtime required during setup
- Ongoing training costs
These budget requirements and more make it essential that you focus on finding a solution that is exactly the right size for your organization. You want it to meet all your needs without being too bloated with features you’ll never use. At the same time, don't forget to take scalability into account—an ideal solution will be light enough when your requirements are basic, but also able to grow along with your business.
Step 4: Compare Solutions
This is the moment you’ve been preparing for. With your requirements checklist and budget breakdown in hand, approach several vendors and schedule demonstrations. Your thorough groundwork will help you ask all the right questions and choose the perfect enterprise software for your company.
The important thing here is to remember that you’re comparing each product to your requirements checklist, not comparing products to each other. A vendor might claim to have a superior product based on its longer list of features. But are those the features that you need to accomplish your goals? If not, it’s probably money you don’t need to spend.
Choosing a Workload Automation Solution
An enterprise job scheduler is key to accomplishing many of the business objectives you might have, including:
- Saving time
- Saving money
- Integrating automated processes across systems
- Eliminating human error
- Being prepared for auditors
To help you with investigating your requirements, determining your budget, and comparing automation solutions, we’ve put together the Enterprise Scheduler Decision Toolkit. The toolkit comes with a guide, which describes the requirements of workload automation in greater detail, and a checklist for you to fill out and take with you to your vendor demos.
Enterprise job scheduling exists to simplify your processes. Simplify the enterprise job scheduler selection process with the Decision Toolkit.