In the second step of the Agile Software Selection process, I will talk about choosing the right partner!
After we have identified the stakeholders in step 1 and written their most important stories, it is now time to select the right partner for the upcoming software acquisition and its integration.
For this selection process, a certain knowledge of the market is definitely a great advantage. Based on the user stories, an experienced consultant can already identify the DAM systems that can be shortlisted.
The number of DAM manufacturers has increased at an inflationary rate in recent years and a certain pre-selection process is therefore necessary. You as a company can try to do this yourself and get information from the usual consulting agencies such as Gartner (Gartner), or the Real Story Group (The Real Story Group), but this requires an internal employee to deal intensively with the methodologies of these agencies. In addition, at least these two consulting agencies are focused on the American market, which will not necessarily make the selection easier, so it is advantageous here to fall back on external help.
Personally, I would recommend selecting no more than 5 providers for the shortlist of partners.
One question that always comes up then is: “Do we want to work directly with the manufacturer, or with an authorised integrator?”
Many companies, especially large ones, want to work directly with the manufacturer. This has the advantage that you get to know the people who are directly behind the product, and you also have the impression that the manufacturer will also align its product with the wishes and needs of the new customer (which, in reality, is usually not the case), but it also has a decisive disadvantage:
Many manufacturers do not have a pure “professional services team” that specialises in integrations. This is a problem from my point of view. A manufacturer who cannot offer this team should concentrate purely on the further development and improvement of its product, otherwise one component, either product development or integration and project business, will suffer.
Therefore my advice:
If a manufacturer has a real “professional services team” that specialises in integrations and individual project development, then you can work directly with the manufacturer, otherwise I would advise against it and rather see the integration part with an authorised integrator.
By the way, a manufacturer can always work together with an integrator at the customer’s site, or you can always ask the manufacturer to recommend a suitable integrator.
After the selection/pre-selection of suitable systems, our user stories now come back on the agenda.
Instead of useless lists of requirements, the user stories (An example of specific user stories can be found here: DAM selection process: Five typical user stories you should know!) are sent to the individual system providers. Of course, it makes sense to discuss the individual User Stories with the providers again in the run-up to a demo. These user stories should be the basis of a personalised demo to be presented by the provider.
What are the goals of this kind of approach and what are the advantages for you as a company of this process?
- You make sure that the user stories, which were previously developed with the company’s stakeholders, also meet exactly the requirements that are needed.
- You know exactly that you can expect a personalised demo and not just a standard presentation of all the overall features of the system. This is essential to get a real impression of the system.
And perhaps most important of all:
- You as a company get to know your future partner in detail. You get a real impression of whether the provider has understood your requirements and can assess whether you can imagine a long-term cooperation.
Only if you carry out an Agile Software Selection will you be able to claim these advantages. The conventional process is far too imprecise and unspecific to score points here!
The final selection of the partner is then of course based on the individual demo and on certain other parameters such as:
- Is the provider’s company structure sound?
- Are there references in my industry environment?
- Is there a valid roadmap and a more far-reaching vision for the product?
- Who will support me after the integration? What is the after sales support structure?
- Are there one or more valid integrators in my region?
These points are general and of course vary from customer to customer, especially in the weighting!
Here again a short wrap up to steps 1 and 2:
In step 1 we identify our stakeholders and create their most important user stories together with you! In step 2, we use these user stories to request an individual demo from the pre-selected system providers and to get an exact impression of the system provider as our future partner!
In step 3 for the Agile Software Selection process, I will go into more detail about the integration process.
I welcome your questions and/or suggestions: