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Offer “The Rapid Application Selection Framework” as a Service

Offer “The Rapid Application Selection” as a service to help your clients select an application that is the best fit for their organization to achieve business goals and desired business outcomes.

  • Small business leaders need help selecting an application that can support them in achieving their business goals and growth. Also, an application selection process can take months, potentially impacting the business' productivity, growth, and revenue.
  • Most of the time, small businesses do not have dedicated resources for the application selection process, but if they do, then they don’t manage it effectively and efficiently. Moreover, without a repeatable application selection framework, businesses are unable to extract the value that applications can provide to business in achieving desired business outcomes.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Help your client adopt a formal methodology to accelerate and improve software selection results.
  • Improve your client’s business satisfaction by including the right stakeholders and delivering new applications on a truly timely basis.
  • Become a trusted advisor to your clients – skip the guesswork and validate decisions with real data.
  • Take control of vendor “dog and pony shows” with single-day, high-value, low-effort, rapid-fire investigative interviews.
  • Assist your clients in vendor negotiations, and never leave money on the table.

Impact and Result

  • Deliver huge value: Info-Tech's repeatable and scalable software selection framework delivers enormous value to your clients. This framework employs a data-driven business stakeholder collaboration and contract negotiation approach to select the right application for an organization in 30 days.
  • Reduced Effort and Boardroom-Ready Deliverables: Info-Tech Partners report that the laborious effort of creating customized deliverables for each client is alleviated using standardized deliverables in this blueprint.
  • Increased Credibility: You increase your trust and credibility with your clients and prospects when you show them aa repeatable, implementable, and data-driven framework to select applications for businesses. Leverage Info-Tech’s brand power as a research and advisory firm to bolster your customers' confidence in you.

Offer “The Rapid Application Selection Framework” as a Service Research & Tools

Executive Brief – A storyboard that will help you offer “The Rapid Application Selection Framework” as a service to your clients.

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out how you can deliver a repeatable and scalable application selection framework as service to your clients while meeting their business needs and expectations.

1. The Rapid Application Selection Framework

A complete framework to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of software selection.

All necessary training and tools for IT leaders and business stakeholders.

Adopt this framework to:

  • Improve the effectiveness of software selection.
  • Reduce the time to select software.
  • Reduce the cost of the applications you procure.

2. The Guide to Software Selection: A Business Stakeholder Manual

This guide has been built to share with your business leaders and stakeholders.

It provides a clear methodology that sets expectations with stakeholders and encourages them to uses software selection best practices to improve selection results.

This customizable guide helps you train and guide your business stakeholders as they participate in software selection projects.

3. The Software Selection Workbook

This critical template helps you capture and document your selection process and decisions.

This practical template streamlines your selection workflow and provides easy-to-follow guidelines with practical examples.

It is a reusable template for all your software selection decisions.

4. The Vendor Evaluation Workbook

The Vendor Evaluation Workbook provides a reusable scorecard system for ranking and comparing vendors.

This practical template can accelerate and improve your selection process.

It is a reusable workbook for each of your software selection decisions.


Offer “The Rapid Application Selection Framework” as a Service

An approach to software selection that saves time, saves money, and above all, is repeatable.

Technology Partner Research Center

Selecting software is a painful experience across businesses

Selection takes forever.
Traditional software selection drags on for years – sometimes in perpetuity.

”RFP” overload kills momentum.
Time is wasted documenting an endless list of table-stakes features.

Vendors put on dog and pony shows.
Glossy presentations and slick salespeople obscure real product features & capabilities.

Stakeholders aren’t satisfied.
Stakeholders grumble that deployed solutions don’t meet critical needs.

Decisions aren’t data driven.
“Gut feeling” and intuition guide selection, leading to poor outcomes.

Negotiations are a weak link.
Money is left on the table by inexperienced negotiators.

The result?
Wasted time. Wasted effort.
Applications that continually disappoint.

Small businesses take months to make application selection happen

Application selection consumes valuable time from key resources
  • One study analyzed 1,971 software projects from small and medium businesses
Software selection data
  • Average for a small business to select and implement software: 5 to 6 months
  • Top reason to implement new software: Support growth and increase efficiency
(Source: Software Path, 2020; Selecthub, 2018)

As a business evolves in today’s digital world, there is an increase in the demand for new, modern and more feature-rich software to stay competitive and innovative in the market.

Selecting and implementing the right software within an acceptable time frame is more important now than ever before.

Delays in implementing software can cost business in productivity, growth and revenue.

Info-Tech Insight

Small businesses have very little experience with or exposure to the vast array of business applications. Moreover, these businesses lack an official procurement function. The decision makers who are involved in the software selection process are busy working in their business, and the rigor of software selection is usually an unwanted distraction.

Software buyers are surrounded by biased sources, leading to poor decisions around software selection

Biased content, anecdotal evidence, and preconceived notions toward software vendors can lead to software discontent.

Biased & subjective inputs VS. Unbiased & objective inputs
Biased content marketing Independent market reports & research
Marketing collateral Third-party data-driven comparisons
Sales demos Investigative interviews with existing customers
Industry peers using the software Testing & trial configuration
HPPO (Highest paid person’s opinion) & “golf course effect” Clearly defined selection process & methodology
Internal team players Consultant can bring valuable software knowledge and experience
Pie chart titled 'The wrong influences lead to compromises' with 27% being 'No compromises' and 73% being 'Compromised made'.
Only 27% of small businesses exceed their expectations with new software after purchase. (Source: TechRepublic, 2021)

Consultants are needed for software selection but are highly sought after

Many small businesses are new to business software selection – these businesses need help!

57% of small companies are first-time business software buyers (Source: Software Path, 2020)

The technological shift of small companies toward business software solutions is due, in large part, to their digital transformation. This change will deliver on business growth and accomplish long-term goals for these businesses.

Consultants are only used 17% of the time to help navigate software selection processes
Pie chart of all the different roles that participate in software selection. The 17% allotted to 'External Consultants' is separated.
More small businesses need consultants to help select software that meets most of the needs of the organization. (Source: Selecthub, 2018)

Leverage your Info-Tech partnership to overcome challenges in building software selection engagement

If you are challenged with…. Then we encourage….
Inconsistent or inadequate methods to assess your customer’s application portfolio Using Info-Tech’s Diagnostic Program, which assesses the client’s IT processes against our Management and Governance Framework. Sample of Info-Tech's Diagnostic Program.
Lack of data-driven research in a specific market to provide unbiased analysis Using SoftwareReviews’ Data Quadrant Report and Emotional Footprint Report to provide an unbiased view of product and vendor insights. Sample of SoftwareReviews’ Data Quadrant Report and Emotional Footprint Report.
Lack of repeatable methodology to approach software application selection.

Inability to scale an approach to applications of various sizes.

Our Rapid Application Selection Process – a repeatable way to conduct a complete software assessment. Sample of Info-Tech's Rapid Application Selection Process.

Improve key software selection metrics using Info-Tech’s rapid application selection framework

Selection process elapsed time Selection and implementation project satisfaction Application portfolio satisfaction score Dollars saved from initial quote

30 Days

85%

70%

$100K

Weeks, not months Measurable results, not hidden frustration Portfolio awareness, not flying blind Hard savings, not list price
A simple measurement of the number of days from intake to decision. Use our Customer Satisfaction Report to measure stakeholder project satisfaction. Use our Application Portfolio Assessment tool to annually measure application satisfaction. Use our contract review and negotiation report to benchmark and optimize your technology spending.
FASTER BETTER BETTER CHEAPER

The Rapid Application Selection Framework (RASF) is best geared towards commodity and mid-tier enterprise applications

Not all software selection projects are created equal – some are very small, and some span the entire enterprise. To ensure that IT is using the right framework, understand the cost and complexity profile of the application you’re looking to select.

The RASF approach is best for commodity and mid-tier enterprise applications; selecting complex applications is better handled by the methodology described in Implement a Proactive and Consistent Vendor Selection Process.

RASF Methodology

Commodity & personal applications

  • Simple, straightforward applications (e.g. OneNote vs. Evernote)
  • Total application spend of up to $10,000; limited risk and complexity
  • Selection done as a single, rigorous, one-day session

Complex mid-tier applications

  • More differentiated, department-wide applications (e.g. Marketo vs. Pardot)
  • Total application spend of up to $100,000; medium risk and complexity
  • RASF approach done over the course of an intensive 40-hour engagement
Consulting Engagement

Enterprise applications

  • Sophisticated, enterprise-wide applications (e.g. Salesforce vs. Dynamics)
  • Total application spend of over $100,000; high risk and complexity
  • Info-Tech can assist with tailored, custom engagements

Implement Info-Tech’s modular and fast-moving Rapid Application Selection Framework to select the right software for your client organization

Five key phases add rigor to your selection efforts while giving you a clear, fast-moving methodology to follow.

Awareness

1.1 Proactively lead technology optimization & prioritization

1.2 Scope & define the selection process for each selection request action

1.3 Conduct an accelerated business needs assessment

1.4 Align stakeholder calendars to reduce elapsed time & asynchronous evaluation

Education & Discovery

2.1 Understand marketplace capabilities & trends

2.2 Discover alternative solutions & conduct market education

2.3 Evaluate enterprise architecture & application portfolio

2.4 Validate the business case

Evaluation

3.1 Gather & prioritize requirements & establish key success metrics

3.2 Conduct a data-driven comparison of vendor features & capabilities

3.3 Narrow the field to four top contenders

Selection

4.1 Create a weighted vendor selection decision model

4.2 Conduct investigative interviews focused on mission-critical priorities with top 2-4 vendors

4.3 Validate key issues with deep technical assessments, trial configuration, & reference checks

Negotiation & Configuration

5.1 Initiate price negotiation with top two vendors selected

5.2 Negotiate contract terms & product configuration

5.3 Finalize budget approval & project implementation timeline

5.4 Invest in training & onboarding assistance

1. How to improve software selection: the awareness phase

Join the B2B Software Selection R/Evolution

Awareness

Info-Tech Tools & Benefits

RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE

1-5 Days

1.1 Proactively lead technology optimization & prioritizationApplication Portfolio Satisfaction DiagnosticIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Lead Ongoing Digital Transformation, Don’t Just React
  • Corporate survival depends on ongoing digital optimization & transformation. IT should lead this effort.
  • Proactively engage, inform, and collaborate on digital solutions to optimize and improve department and division performance.
1.2 Scope & define the selection process for each selection request actionRapid Application Selection FrameworkIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Use a Tier-Based Selection Methodology
  • Accelerate your selection process by eliminating elapsed time.
  • Use unbiased inputs.
  • Focus your time on high-impact activities.
1.3 Conduct an accelerated business needs assessmentBusiness Impact Assessment MethodologyIcon of a star for 'CRITICAL STAGE'.Understand Critical Needs & Business Impact
  • Use the Info-Tech Business Impact Assessment Tool to accelerate the process and eliminate the “broken telephone” effect.
  • Clear alignment on business objectives and metrics is critical to success.
1.4 Align stakeholder calendars to reduce elapsed time & asynchronous evaluationThe Guide to Software Selection: A Business Stakeholder ManualIcon of two chevrons for 'ACCELERATE'.Use Focus Groups to Accelerate the Process
  • Provide stakeholders with a clear process and timeline.
  • Schedule focus groups during the project kick-off.
  • Build one aligned view of the marketplace.

2. How to improve software selection: the education & discovery phase

Join the B2B Software Selection R/Evolution

Education & Discovery

Info-Tech Tools & Benefits

RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE

1-5 Days

2.1 Understand marketplace capabilities & trendsAnalyst Briefing & Market Trends ReportsIcon of two chevrons for 'ACCELERATE'.Quickly Gain Market Clarity & Understanding
  • Eliminate time-consuming internet research.
  • Understand overlap, benefits & changes in markets.
  • Understand market trends & develop a clear view of the marketplace.
2.2 Discover alternative solutions & conduct market education
  • Vendor Landscape Report
  • Data Quadrant Report
  • Emotional Footprint Report
  • Vendor reports

(specific to each technology category)

Icon of two chevrons for 'ACCELERATE'.Use Fact-Based Evaluation & Comparison Data
  • Start the education process with a detailed, authoritative reviews & in-depth market insights.
  • Use data for direct vendor comparisons. Days to build a shortlist, instead of weeks.
2.3 Evaluate enterprise architecture & application portfolioApplication Roadmap Tool & Rapid EA Review ProcessIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Reduce & Eliminate Portfolio Overlap
  • Understand existing application portfolio satisfaction & the fit/overlap with the new request.
  • Rapid & standardized enterprise architecture practices deliver very high returns. Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good enough.
2.4 Validate the business caseInfo-Tech Application Business Case TemplateIcon of a star for 'CRITICAL STAGE'.Key Stage/Gate to Validate or Eliminate Further Steps
  • Establish a clear stage gate process to end selection projects.
  • Establish a consistent process for business cases, accountability, ownership & post-implementation review.

3. How to improve software selection: the evaluation phase

Join the B2B Software Selection R/Evolution

Evaluation

Info-Tech Tools & Benefits

RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE

1-5 Days

3.1 Gather & prioritize requirements & establish key success metrics Ranked Requirements ToolIcon of two chevrons for 'ACCELERATE'.Ruthlessly Prioritize Requirements to Drive Evaluation Success
  • Avoid long lists of standard feature requirements, RFIs & RFPs where possible.
  • Focus on a prioritized list of mission-critical priorities not “bells & whistles” or a long list of subjective comparisons.
  • Use standard system capabilities; avoid customization & unique requirements in 90% of cases.
3.2 Conduct a data-driven comparison of vendor features & capabilities
  • Vendor Landscape Report
  • Data Quadrant Report
  • Emotional Footprint Report
  • Vendor reports

(specific to each technology category)

Icon of a star for 'CRITICAL STAGE'.Begin With Market Capabilities, Not Old Processes
  • Market capabilities are evolving faster than most existing corporate practices. Understand market capabilities & save time by avoiding the nightmare of “documenting existing processes.”
  • Don’t rely on waiting for demos & marketing collateral to make software decisions. Use detailed system capabilities in written format.
3.3 Narrow the field to four top contendersDynamic Data QuadrantIcon of two chevrons for 'ACCELERATE'.Use Data to Rank the Vendor Criteria
  • Use a fact-based, apples-to-apples comparison of standard features and vendor capabilities.
  • Customize vendor evaluation data based on your weighted mission-critical priorities.

4. How to improve software selection: the selection phase

Join the B2B Software Selection R/Evolution

Selection

Info-Tech Tools & Benefits

RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE

1-5 Days

4.1 Create a weighted vendor selection decision modelVendor Selection & Scoring ModelIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Get Aligned on a Clear Decision Framework
  • Reduce the HPPO* & the Golf Course effect.
  • Use our vendor selection scoring model. Avoid a long math exercise as well as a “gut-feel” approach.
  • Focus on mission-critical priorities and vendor capabilities.
4.2 Conduct investigative interviews focused on mission-critical priorities with top 2-4 vendorsInvestigative Interview GuideIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Focus on Investigative Interviews, Not a Dog & Pony Show
  • Decision committee time is valuable. Get up to speed using third-party data and written collateral. Use committee time to conduct investigative interviews instead.
  • Salesperson charisma & marketing collateral quality should not be a primary selection criteria. Sadly, this is the case far too often.
4.3 Validate key issues with deep technical assessments, trial configuration, & reference checksValidation methodologyIcon of a star for 'CRITICAL STAGE'.Increase Time Spent Validating Mission-Critical Priorities
  • Marketing collateral glosses over actual capabilities and differentiation. Use unbiased third-party data and detailed system training material.
  • Testing and trial configuration for mission-critical priorities is a dramatically more effective evaluation tool than canned sales demos.

5. How to improve software selection: the negotiation & configuration phase

Join the B2B Software Selection R/Evolution

Negotiation & Configuration

Info-Tech Tools & Benefits

RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE

1-5 Days

5.1 Initiate price negotiation with top two vendors selectedPrice Benchmarking & Negotiation ServiceIcon of a star for 'CRITICAL STAGE'.Maintain Two Viable Alternatives
  • Save up to 50% from initial quote with a truly competitive selection process. Benchmark price flexibility and average cost per seat.
  • Understand and make an informed decision on the price premium associated with the market leader.
5.2 Negotiate contract terms & product configurationContract review & negotiation reportIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Contract Terms Can Be As Important As the Price
  • Know vendor-specific contract best practices and idiosyncrasies before you negotiate.
  • Lock in future price increase during initial negotiation.
5.3 Finalize budget approval & project implementation timelineInfo-Tech Project Planning TemplateIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.The Process Is Just Starting When a Contract Gets Signed
  • Use Info-Tech’s application project implementation tool template.
  • Measure selection & implementation process satisfaction after every project.
  • Monitor and manage satisfaction for every application in your portfolio annually.
5.4 Invest in training & onboarding assistanceN/AIcon of a lightbulb for 'INSIGHT'.Investments in Training & Effective Onboarding Have High Returns
  • Make sure you have a clear plan for training, change management, and onboarding.
  • Assign clear business & IT ownership for every application.

Need hands-on assistance? Our expert team can dive in and help you complete the RASF approach in 30 days or less.

Info-Tech has over 25 years of helping our members make smart software decisions. Our experienced facilitators can work with you through on-site support and remote sessions to guide you through every element of the RASF approach to software selection. Our Rapid Application Selection Service provides you with 40 hours of analyst time for only US$20,000.

Awareness Education & Discovery Evaluation Selection Negotiation & Configuration

1-5 Days

1-5 Days

1-5 Days

1-5 Days

1-5 Days

PHASE 1

Key Milestones
  • Define the selection process
  • Conduct business impact assessment

PHASE 2

Key Milestones
  • Understand marketplace trends
  • Validate business case

PHASE 3

Key Milestones
  • Use data to drive comparison of vendor capabilities
  • Establish key success metrics

PHASE 4

Key Milestones
  • Create weighted selection model
  • Validate key issues with technical assessment & reference checks

PHASE 5

Key Milestones
  • Initiate price negotiation with top vendors
  • Finalize budget approval & project implementation

Bibliography

Etheridge, Patrick. “Top 5 Tech Challenges for Small Businesses.” TekEfficient, 2015. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Gheorghiu, Gabriel. “Software Selection Guidelines for Companies in Business Growth Cycles.” SelectHub, Jan. 2019. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Gheorghiu, Gabriel. “The ERP Buyer’s Profile for Growing Companies.” SelectHub, Dec. 2018. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Greg, Jonathan. “More Than 70% of SMBs Buy Software That Does Not Meet or Exceed Their Expectations, Survey Says.” TechRepublic, 12 Jan. 2021. Accessed Mar 28, 2022.

“Seven Software Selection Statistics for Software Buyers.” Software Path, 15 Jan. 2020. Accessed Jan. 2022.

Vile, Dale. “The SMB Solution Selection Challenge.” FreeForm Dynamics, 21 June 2021. Accessed Jan. 2022.

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