Who's your vendor? And why?

New BPM systems

Everybody sees them. Everybody knows about them. It seems that a week doesn’t go by without some new system coming to market.

Questions?So the dilemma which exists for a prospective purchaser of these systems is “How do I differentiate between all these systems?”. In previous posts I’ve looked at some of the criteria that are used for selecting these tools, but at a more macro level I’m interested in understanding what it is about one software company that will encourage you to work with them over a software company which has a broadly similar offering?

As an example: If I worked in the sales department of a major multinational and I needed a CRM tool, there are a number of tools I could use that are on the market. Some are stronger in one area relative to another, but overall they are very similar in what they do and how they do it. Price is always a factor when it comes to software packages, but as the size of the company increases, the price factor lessens (after all you’re going to be spending millions on the project it doesn’t really matter if it costs £1000 per seat or £2500 per seat). So what is it that I would look for in a company that I am going to work with on a large project such as a BPM implementation?

Possible options

  1. Is it the size of the company itself? Would you work with a smaller company if it could convince you that it was more agile and responsive to your needs?
  2. Is it the track record of the company? Does it need to have had many similar implementations with companies your size before you will even look at it? If this is the case, how is the company meant to get started with doing this as it appears to be a Catch 22?
  3. Is it the people you deal with? Mostly - when looking at software tools - you end up dealing with sales people or folks from the marketing or pre-sales team. They are trained to be polite and helpful, and in many cases will promise things that in reality might be difficult to provide. They are usually very pleasant people but they aren’t going to be the ones your project is dealing with after the contract is signed.
  4. Is it case studies? Do you look for organisations that can provide case studies which align with the kind of things you are looking to do by implementing your software package or finishing your project?
  5. Is it references? Do you try and speak to other companies that have implemented this tool? Does it matter if a company cannot produce these references?
  6. Is it accolades from research organisations such as The Gartner Group or Forrester? Lots of organisations subscribe to research provided by groups such as this and they provide “Magic Quadrants” and “Wave” diagrams which identify the top vendors in particular market areas. How much influence does this have on your thinking?


I’m very interested to understand what it is that helps influence a project to decide on a particular software vendor. Any of your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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