5 Tips for Effective EPM Software Vendor Selection

When I joined iCIMS 3 years ago, I was immediately tasked with the challenge of selecting an enterprise performance management (EPM) vendor and solution to replace iCIMS’ defunct reporting platform, Adaptive Planning.

Jim Perry video

My team and I spent hours of time debating the merits of on-premises software versus cloud-based solutions and sat through a half dozen vendor demonstrations before selecting Planful and their cloud-based EPM suite as our FP&A partner. Our vendor selection process underscored that the selection of a valued technology partner requires the right team of people who have the knowledge and functional expertise to undergo an in-depth vendor selection process. Both the right people and the right processes are essential prerequisites of system success.  Here are my 5 tips for effective software vendor selection.


Tip 1: Define Business Requirements

Assemble an evaluation team that is knowledgeable in the vendor selection process and has a firm understanding of the key business objectives.

  • Define the product and/or service requirements;
  • Define the technical and business requirements;
  • Define the vendor requirements;
  • Compile a requirements document to serve as a rubric during the vendor selection process

Tip 2: Identify Potential Vendors

Next, after the evaluation team has agreed upon a requirements document, compile a short list of vendors who align with the business requirements. Analyst reports such as those offered by Gartner and Forrester are useful benchmarks for vendor due diligence and best practice adoption strategies.

Tip 3: Develop Evaluation Criteria

Third, develop an evaluation scale that weighs each requirement against its value and priority to the organization. This scoring methodology helps to highlight the differentiators of each vendor and rank the importance of each value-add to the business. Informed customers purchase solutions and not products. (How well does the vendor’s solution address your business needs?)

Tip 4: Evaluate Vendors and Schedule Demos

Next, short-listed vendors should provide a solution overview to the business problems which addresses technical requirements, fees, benefits, and key differentiators offered as part of the solution. The demonstration should showcase the capabilities of the solution vis-à-vis the competition and help you evaluate the intangible aspects of the vendor, for instance, excellent customer service or a convenient delivery method.

Tip 5: Complete Vendor Selection and Project Scoping

Lastly, agree upon a clear set of objectives, deliverables, benchmarks, and cost structure with the vendor. These items should be listed along with specific terms and conditions on the face of the agreement.

By leveraging the expertise of the right people and processes, the vendor selection process can be greatly simplified and lead to Kaizen opportunities within your organization. Here at iCIMS, our partnership with Planful has enabled us to reduce our month-end reporting process from days to hours and expand our footprint to incorporate Big Data and platform analytics.

To learn more about the selection and implementation of Planful Cloud EPM Suite at iCIMS, watch this short video interview.

Jim Perry video

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