Once you have made the decision to invest in new software, you’re faced with the difficult process of deciding exactly which supplier to go with. This will inevitably lead to the product demonstration.
The most common mistake HR managers can make when researching the different products available is leaning back and waiting to be impressed, says Brian Bennyworth, group HR director at housing association LHA-ASRA.
“It’s so easy to be dazzled, and vendors will try to sell you all sorts of things you never thought you needed, and you’ll end up paying for stuff you never use,” he says.
Create a shortlist
Instead, consider creating a shortlist of three to five vendors who offer products that seem appropriate. Next, before speaking to any supplier, work with your colleagues to draw up a requirements list:
- What does the software need to do?
- What are the requirements in terms of cost, integration, training?
- What are essentials and what are just ‘nice to have’ software features?
With this list in hand, invite your shortlisted HR software vendors to provide a live software demonstration.
“Communicate your requirements to the vendor; they will appreciate knowing what you’re looking for and being able to demonstrate the solution appropriately,” says Mina Kumari, HR director at internet service provider Star Internet.
At the demonstration, ask the vendor to show you how the HR software will handle a typical process – using your organisation as a model.
There’s little use in seeing how a payroll software system handles a weekly salary run if you pay employees monthly, for example.
Use detailed score cards to record details of each demonstration, otherwise it can be hard to remember which HR software packages had specific features and functions.
After the demonstration, debrief with colleagues – talk about your impressions and see if there are any remaining questions about potential software solutions.
Other top tips
- If you’re not the person who works most with your current HR software system, try to include others in your department in the product demonstrations. They will have a better understanding of the importance of certain features and benefits
- Try not to get overly impressed by gimmicks. Remember the practicalities
- Quiz the person demonstrating the product to you. Don’t let them simply deliver their sales spiel, without putting it all into the context of your department and your organisation.