Evaluating a new system for SMEs / Startups is always a huge challenge. They do not have the luxury of time and resources to undertake a detailed system / vendor evaluations like large enterprises. On the other hand, large enterprises typically have New Technology Evaluation / Management teams which monitor development of new technologies / new solutions. These teams undertake a very elaborate system evaluation exercise involving Pre-RFP system demos, RFP issuance, RFP response evaluations and sometimes even detailed POCs for shortlisted vendors.
Typically, SMEs / Startups tend to go for a system / vendor by their reputation known through formal / informal channels or even sales efforts of the vendors. Many times proper requirements are not documented, scope not defined and then these projects run into time and cost overruns consuming the bandwidth of the promoters / founders. As a result, particularly SMEs tend to be reluctant to adopt IT systems, which can improve productivity and throughput of their business processes.
SMEs and Startups need to adopt different approaches while selecting IT systems depending on the mission criticality / business value of the systems and Nature of Requirements (company specific / standard). Following infographic gives a quick overview on the approach SMEs / Startups can take while selecting new systems.
As detailed in the above diagram for:
High Mission Criticality / Business Value, High Company Specific Requirements: company may opt for either custom developed system or select a point / packaged application based on an elaborate system eval efforts.
High Mission Criticality / Business Value, Low Company Specific Requirements: company may consider SaaS / Plug and Play applications however after evaluating the possible options available in the market.
For other 2 combinations the company may go for SaaS / plug and play applications based on quick research and understanding of the available options in the market or based on peer recommendations.
In the next blog post, we will discuss the system evaluation approach / steps.