Bart Waldeck

Separating the Truth from Fiction: SLM Implementations

Myth #1 - Demoware vs. Out-of-the-box (1)

In our recently published White Paper – The 8 Myths of SLM & IWMS Implementations we explore the most common myths that many customers face when exploring SLM and IWMS implementations, and contrast them with the reality of the situation.


In this series of blog posts, we’ll break down the myths one-by-one and review them in more depth.

 

The first myth we highlight in the white paper explores the common issue that companies face – that what they saw in the demo isn’t actually what they end up getting out-of-the-box when they begin deploying the software. The problem is that while a software demo paints a vision of what the world could be like if you license and implement the vendor’s software, it isn’t necessary a true representation of how the software operates out-of-the-box.

 

In fact, we liken it to a movie with scripted clicks, customer anecdotes, competitor potholes and its own laugh track. Also, the way the demo shows the solution isn’t necessarily the way you’d design the solution to run your business. It paints an ideal picture rather than what your reality will look like.

 

In one particularly extreme example, a company sued a prominent ERP provider for $10 million after an ERP implementation went completely wrong and claimed the company faked the demo to convince top executives to go with their solution.

 

Often times the features shown turn into the actual evaluation criteria for your company – which can result in company’s buying unnecessary functionality that they don’t actually require.

 

Want to bust the myth of demoware versus reality? Ask these three questions to debunk the myth and uncover the truth behind the demo:

  • What does the system look like day one when it’s turned on? Ask the vendor to clearly explain which features / functions come out-of-the box and which require configuration or customization.
  • What level of effort is required to implement the capabilities you are being shown? For example, is it a simple set-up where you need to populate drop down values or do you need to write ground-up workflow and define new data sets and forms to manage a process?
  • Are customers actually using the capabilities being shown? Often what looks pretty and easy to use in a demo is different than the realities of what needs to occur on the ground. The devil is in the details.

Here are some other steps you can take to ensure you are separating the truth from fiction in demos:

  • Own the Demo – a critical success factor to selecting the right software is owning the software demonstration. Draft a demo script that accurately mimics the actual day to day work that users of the system will be executing. Additionally, the script should flow logically from your RFP requirements and focus on the “must have” high priority functionality. Explore areas of system functionality where the vendors demonstrating scored similarly so you can adequately tease out the differences between each product and make as educated a decision as possible.
  • Provide Real Data – the best demos utilize your company’s actual data. Make sure to provide enough detail and ask the vendors to use this data when running the demo. Start from the beginning of the process – a targeted trade areas where you’re prospecting potential sites – and run all the way through the process to the first lease renewal. Provide a detailed project budget, execute change orders and purchase orders, abstract a particularly painful part of a lease, calculate a unique percent rent scenario, etc. The more you get a sense of day to day system work the better.
  • Remove Subjectivity from Demo Scoring – do your best to make vendor demo scoring as quantitative as possible. Score each area on a standard scale with clear instructions regarding what is needed to achieve a certain score. Meet internally immediately after the demonstration to discuss the strengths and weaknesses and areas where more exploration is warranted. Waiting even a single day will lose a substantial amount of critical information and feedback that will naturally evaporate from everyone’s conscious.

The promise of Store Lifecycle Management (SLM) and Integrated Workplace Management (IWMS) including increased efficiency and speed-to-market is compelling – so don’t let this myth deter you. Instead, know what you are getting into and plan accordingly so that expectations meet reality.

 

Want to learn about more about how to ensure a success implementation? Download The 8 Myths of SLM & IWMS Implementations white paper below.

 

Download the  White Paper