We are of course well aware that customers have options, even though we naturally feel Harmony is the best overall. We do talk to customers whose business is optimised in such a way that other systems may suit them better and we endeavour to be honest where we feel that Harmony is not the right platform.
But this blog post is not about us, it's about the process of picking the right solution for your business. Choosing a system that's not right for you is surprisingly common. This is attested by many of our leads, some of which have bought two prior systems and still can’t find one that works for them.
So, how do you go about avoiding such a timely and expensive mis-purchase?
In my experience, there are seven golden rules to running a sound evaluation process:
- Understand what is critical: PSA systems do a lot of things, an immense number of things really. But, some of those make a real difference to your economics/efficiency and many are just nice add-ons that help occasionally. So, draw your redlines, the features that underpin the business case and keep looking until you find them
- Don’t get tied up on minutiae: it’s so easy to dive down rabbit holes of functionality - we all do it. However, what is easy is also very distracting and so can lead to you making the wrong decision. Make your list of must-haves, and make sure you understand the impact of not finding each. Can you still work? Is it worth changing your business without this feature? Etc.
- Be prepared to compromise: the only software that will do exactly what you want is one you have written just for you (and even if you could afford it, it is questionable whether bespoke systems ever make sense in this space). All purchased solutions will entail acceptance of a degree of compromise, so try to be open in your requirements, but hold the redlines.
- Bring the team with you: a PSA will touch most if not all roles in the business. It cannot be selected in isolation or the project will fail. At the earliest stage, get input from your colleagues and involve them (directly or with representatives) in all calls and demos. Let the vendor sell to them as they sell to you, but give the other departments real involvement and veto on which software is bought
- Get hands on: there is nothing like using a system for discovering where it falls short. Unfortunately, PSA tools are so large (and generally require significant training), that a full trial is impractical. So, focus on the two or three key points you must see work and make sure the vendor guides you through those processes (and helps you get the right data in for them to work properly). Set a limit on the timeline for the trial and make sure you and your colleagues can set aside sufficient time to make the most of the evaluation opportunity a trial provides
- Consider the future: buying a PSA may not be for life, but it is a decision you don’t want to keep revisiting as you grow. So, when you list out your requirements, consider where your business is going and future-proof your requirements as much as you can
- Ignore the roadmap: you are buying what is available now. Don’t buy if your essential feature is a roadmap item - it may never happen. We talk to many businesses that were talked into buying on promises or false assurances of features that get de-prioritised
We won’t guarantee that this will drive the right choice, but we're confident it will help you avoid making the wrong choice. If you’ve had to compromise two or more of the above in your talks with the vendor, DON’T BUY THE SYSTEM…
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn