When faced with the opportunity to purchase a custom software solution, it can be very difficult to determine what should be the final decision. For non-software solutions sometimes it’s an obvious determination; the person signing the cheque chooses what they want. Other times an already established system is in place; a majority rule determines the solution, the software is voted by the board members, or the monetary cost of the software outweighs any other decision making factors. But when choosing to pursue a custom software solution for your business, how important are each of the stakeholders in the decision process? How do you determine the final decision? Here are the different stakeholders whose opinions you should consider when making the decision:
- The end users - When considering software solutions, the people who can determine the best option are the ones who will use the tool everyday. The users are usually the people who are subjected to the initial problem frequently, and thus in terms of any software solution they should be the ones who get to select the answer. The opinion of the end users of any solution should be highly valued. Building a custom software that does not adequately fix their needs will cause slow user adaption rate, and a low user retention rate. A custom software solution must fix their problems to ensure it is money well spent.
- The software team - As the technical people in the company, the software team will understand how the software solution would fit into the existing company infrastructure with minimal disturbances. Large disturbances caused by software solutions are often even larger headaches than the initial problem to begin with. By allowing your software team to make the decision, you are ensuring that the easiest solution to implement may be chosen.
- The person who signs the cheque - As the financial officer, they understand how the money affects the overall operation of the business. This understanding of the spend is important when making a decision as they can ensure the chosen software solution is within a specific budget and passes the cost/benefit analysis test. The financial officer will also see the real need of the situation, and be able to determine the best software solution for all the stakeholders involved in the process. They are also invested in ensuring that the product they receive matches the description, and promised quality level, for the monetary amount quoted.
- The management team - Typically, the management team is representative of the different departments within the company. By deferring this decision to this team, a fair representation of how the new software solution will affect the company will be evident. The team will be able to balance the wants and needs of their own departments against those of the others, and decide on the absolute best custom software for the problem.