Our seven-step evaluation checklist

Evaluating your existing bespoke software supplier and selecting a new partner is not a decision to be taken overnight. 

However, it can sometimes be a decision that is time-pressured and made at a point of crisis, when software is becoming obsolete or when your existing provider is unable to deliver to your requirement. Our Operations Director, Chris Kirkham, defines a seven-step evaluation checklist, along with some essential questions our team and clients recommend asking during the evaluation process:

1. Define your requirements and objectives:

Question: What are the specific issues and pain points with the current supplier that you want to address with a new partner?

Question: What does the current supplier do well that needs to be carried over to the new partner?

Question: What are your short-term and long-term business goals for the software system?

2. Review current performance and support:

Question: How satisfied are you with the performance and stability of the existing software and the support you receive?

Question: How proactive and effective is the current supplier's support and maintenance?

3. Research and shortlist potential suppliers:

Question: What criteria are essential for a new supplier? (e.g., expertise, technology stack, industry experience, scalability, business knowledge, guidance?) Question: Have you researched and identified potential suppliers that meet your criteria?

4. Assess supplier capabilities:

Question: Can the potential suppliers provide relevant case studies or references from clients who have been through this process with them?

Question: Do they have experience with similar projects and challenges?

5. Evaluate technology and expertise:

Question: What technologies do the potential suppliers use, and how well do they align with your requirements and plans?

Question: How do they stay up-to-date with the latest trends and advancements in software development?

6. Check financial stability and contractual terms:

Question: How financially stable is the potential supplier?

Question: What are the contractual terms, pricing models, and exit clauses?

7. Conduct interviews and demos:

Question: Can the potential supplier demonstrate their software-specific knowledge and their business knowledge?

Question: Have you conducted interviews with key stakeholders to assess their understanding of your requirements and ability to communicate effectively?

Top hints and tips

We spoke to Touran Weda, Head of IT at Power League, to get some top tips for a smooth transition. Here are some of his key tips for you to consider:

Involve key stakeholders from different departments - including IT, finance, operations, and end-users, in the evaluation process to gather diverse perspectives. 

Request and review case studies - as well as testimonials and references from potential suppliers to understand their track record and client satisfaction. 

Get under the skin of their team - how do they operate? Will they integrate with your business? Will they adopt your processes? 

Question their business knowledge - see if they understand your business and wider business technology needs

Ask the potential suppliers about their approach to data security - as well as privacy compliance, and disaster recovery.

Check if the supplier has relevant certifications - such as ISO 27001 for information security management. 

Consider the potential for scalability - and how the supplier plans to accommodate your system's future growth. 

Establish a clear timeline and communication plan - for the evaluation and selection process to keep everyone informed and on track. 

Request detailed proposals - that outline the scope, deliverables, timelines, and costs for the project. 

Trust your instincts - choose a supplier that demonstrates a genuine understanding of your needs and a commitment to your project's success

Download the full eBook, containing chapters one to five, here. 

Author: Chris Kirkham
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