How to select the right software vendor How to select the right software vendor

How to select the right software vendor
31 Aug 2017

If there is one game-changing thing a global payroll professional can do for their employer, it is to implement a great payroll system that not only makes key operational information available but also eradicates a significant amount of time-consuming administration. But one of the elements in making a success of this kind of project is selecting the best software vendor for you.

To do so, you will initially need to come up with a list of potential suppliers either via word­ of-mouth recommendations, issuing a request for proposal or using a website service such as HRcomparison. com . Once you have drawn up a long list of vendors, ask them to provide you with:

  • A brief history of their organization;
  • Financial details such as whether it is part of a holding company and who its shareholders or investors are;
  • Addresses of its registered office and other business premises;
  • An organizational chart;
  • Contact details for all employees who are associated with the contract;
  • Its web address;
  • The name and address of its bankers;
  • Copies of published and  audited  accounts for the last three fu1ancial years, together with directors'  reports;
  • A document addressing how they intend to meet your requirements on a point-by-point basis and, if they cannot meet any given requirement, what possible remedy they suggest instead.

‘‘Be sure to clarify in advance that the contract will be awarded based on criteria agreed by relevant authorized personnel.''

Technical specifications

To help potential suppliers understand your requirements, provide them with a detailed overview of your technical requirements which includes how the system should be configured. Highlight any areas   in which your current IT  infrastructure may  not necessarily correspond with, or may need  to be reviewed in light of, the requirements of their applications.

 

Also request a draft Service Level Agreement covering administrative, operational and other services so you know what their standard offering is here and where you might need to improve upon it. Likewise, ask your prospects about the costs involved in purchasing:

 - Software licenses;

- Other software, including third-party applications;

- A software interface to general  ledger;

- Supplementary hardware;

- Possible set-up and customisation services;

- Project management and  consultancy services;

- Data migration services

- User training;

- System maintenance and user support services.

Also, enquire  as to whether there are any other recurring or non-recurring charges.

Implementation

To get a handle on what will happen at the implementation phase, ask prospective providers to supply you with:

- Evidence that they have the capacity, experience and resources to fulfil contract requirements;
- Relevant reference sites;
- A specimen project plan, which includes
Implementation timescales. This plan should accompany the tender document;
- An outline of their approach to implementation and what project management methodology they intend to use;
- Evidence of Quality Assurance accreditations and adherence to Quality Assurance standards;
- A contingency plan to cover any project setbacks.

Managing the tender process 

Be sure to clarify in advance:

  • That the contract will be awarded based on criteria agreed by relevant authorised personnel. Specify that percentages will be assigned to different elements of the tender; including functionality; support services; quality assurance; running costs; technical merit; relevant client experience and delivery timetable, based on how important they are considered to be;
  • How many copies of bids you require, in what format and addressed to whom;
  • What your tender timetable and deadlines are. For example, make it clear that documentation should arrive no later than xx am/pm local time on day/month/ year and that late tenders will be returned unopened;
  • That tenders will be opened at xx hours on date/year and that only named staff who have been assigned to the procurement process will be present;
  • Vendor presentation dates;
  • Contract award date;
  • Contact details of who any queries should be sent to.

Once you have all of the relevant information to hand, you will be in a much better position to evaluate and choose the most suitable vendor for you.

Dos and don'ts

  • Do include practical instances of how your key HR and payroll processes work so that vendors can see how their software would operate in that context;
  • Do highlight particular areas that are currently giving your organization pain and where processes might be considered unusual;
  • Do be realistic about timelines;
  • Don't produce a huge tender document stretching to hundreds of pages - it will be too complex and take too long for vendors to address all points;
  • Don't assume that product

 

Denis Barnard is a consultant with more than 30 years' experience of HR  and payroll technology. After starting his career in finance, he moved into HR and then started specializing in HR and payroll software in the late 1980s. Denis has conducted numerous software selection exercises on behalf of organizations of all sizes and across all sectors, ranging from local authorities to FTSE 100 companies. He has also deployed systems for many others, notably The Times Educational Supplement and Universal Music. Considered a leading expert in his field, Denis runs his own workshops and webinars on software selection and implementation and is a frequent guest presenter at various industry events and webinars. He is the co-founder of specialist consultancy HRmeansbusiness Ltd and also set up the UK's first dedicated HR software comparison website,   HRcomparison.com

If there is one game-changing thing a global payroll professional can do for their employer, it is to implement a great payroll system that not only makes key operational information available but also eradicates a significant amount of time-consuming administration. But one of the elements in making a success of this kind of project is selecting the best software vendor for you.

To do so, you will initially need to come up with a list of potential suppliers either via word­ of-mouth recommendations, issuing a request for proposal or using a website service such as HRcomparison. com . Once you have drawn up a long list of vendors, ask them to provide you with:

  • A brief history of their organization;
  • Financial details such as whether it is part of a holding company and who its shareholders or investors are;
  • Addresses of its registered office and other business premises;
  • An organizational chart;
  • Contact details for all employees who are associated with the contract;
  • Its web address;
  • The name and address of its bankers;
  • Copies of published and  audited  accounts for the last three fu1ancial years, together with directors'  reports;
  • A document addressing how they intend to meet your requirements on a point-by-point basis and, if they cannot meet any given requirement, what possible remedy they suggest instead.

‘‘Be sure to clarify in advance that the contract will be awarded based on criteria agreed by relevant authorized personnel.''

Technical specifications

To help potential suppliers understand your requirements, provide them with a detailed overview of your technical requirements which includes how the system should be configured. Highlight any areas   in which your current IT  infrastructure may  not necessarily correspond with, or may need  to be reviewed in light of, the requirements of their applications.

 

Also request a draft Service Level Agreement covering administrative, operational and other services so you know what their standard offering is here and where you might need to improve upon it. Likewise, ask your prospects about the costs involved in purchasing:

 - Software licenses;

- Other software, including third-party applications;

- A software interface to general  ledger;

- Supplementary hardware;

- Possible set-up and customisation services;

- Project management and  consultancy services;

- Data migration services

- User training;

- System maintenance and user support services.

Also, enquire  as to whether there are any other recurring or non-recurring charges.

Implementation

To get a handle on what will happen at the implementation phase, ask prospective providers to supply you with:

- Evidence that they have the capacity, experience and resources to fulfil contract requirements;
- Relevant reference sites;
- A specimen project plan, which includes
Implementation timescales. This plan should accompany the tender document;
- An outline of their approach to implementation and what project management methodology they intend to use;
- Evidence of Quality Assurance accreditations and adherence to Quality Assurance standards;
- A contingency plan to cover any project setbacks.

Managing the tender process 

Be sure to clarify in advance:

  • That the contract will be awarded based on criteria agreed by relevant authorised personnel. Specify that percentages will be assigned to different elements of the tender; including functionality; support services; quality assurance; running costs; technical merit; relevant client experience and delivery timetable, based on how important they are considered to be;
  • How many copies of bids you require, in what format and addressed to whom;
  • What your tender timetable and deadlines are. For example, make it clear that documentation should arrive no later than xx am/pm local time on day/month/ year and that late tenders will be returned unopened;
  • That tenders will be opened at xx hours on date/year and that only named staff who have been assigned to the procurement process will be present;
  • Vendor presentation dates;
  • Contract award date;
  • Contact details of who any queries should be sent to.

Once you have all of the relevant information to hand, you will be in a much better position to evaluate and choose the most suitable vendor for you.

Dos and don'ts

  • Do include practical instances of how your key HR and payroll processes work so that vendors can see how their software would operate in that context;
  • Do highlight particular areas that are currently giving your organization pain and where processes might be considered unusual;
  • Do be realistic about timelines;
  • Don't produce a huge tender document stretching to hundreds of pages - it will be too complex and take too long for vendors to address all points;
  • Don't assume that product

 

Denis Barnard is a consultant with more than 30 years' experience of HR  and payroll technology. After starting his career in finance, he moved into HR and then started specializing in HR and payroll software in the late 1980s. Denis has conducted numerous software selection exercises on behalf of organizations of all sizes and across all sectors, ranging from local authorities to FTSE 100 companies. He has also deployed systems for many others, notably The Times Educational Supplement and Universal Music. Considered a leading expert in his field, Denis runs his own workshops and webinars on software selection and implementation and is a frequent guest presenter at various industry events and webinars. He is the co-founder of specialist consultancy HRmeansbusiness Ltd and also set up the UK's first dedicated HR software comparison website,   HRcomparison.com

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