The Fuzzy Art of Solution Evaluation: 8 Broader Questions for Choosing the Right Solution and Vendor

A couple of weeks ago, I offered seven key questions for building a solid evaluation methodology to help you as you embark on any journey to select new technologies, whether you’re looking for information systems management software, endpoint security and endpoint management tools, cloud technologies, or other solutions.

But once you’ve defined your process for solution evaluation, what happens next?

It’s time to think about the broader questions. After all, it’s not all just a feature/function checklist that gets you where you need to be, but the sum of both tangible and less-tangible solution (and vendor) characteristics. Keep in mind your end game, which includes both enhancing your competitive advantage and returning more time for innovation, especially for the IT team.

Here are eight key questions to ask yourself:

  1. What’s our major pain point? Your organization needs to agree on the major goal for the solution. For example, are you most concerned about improving customer service, user support or network security? Or perhaps about making the most of your limited IT staff? Are quick implementation and fast time to value critical? Of course, the major pain point will likely be different for, say, an endpoint protection tool than for IT management software.
  2. Is the solution right-sized? Like most everything we purchase, technology comes in high-, mid- and low-end options. Consider whether a candidate solution can meet your organization’s needs without either adding superfluous capabilities or short-changing important requirements.
  3. Does the solution offer all the capabilities you need? Here’s where you pull out the feature/function checklist and ensure the solution ticks all the boxes. Take the time to be exhaustive in your consideration.
  4. What are the pros and cons of the competitor candidates? Be sure to take a close look at the more subtle characteristics of each vendor. Are they innovative? Will they invest in the solution moving forward?
  5. Is the form factor what your organization needs? On premises, as a managed service or in the cloud — most solutions today offer a variety of delivery vehicles. Think through which is best for your infrastructure, ongoing maintenance and security needs.
  6. How is the vendor’s reliability and support? After the purchase is made, will the vendor be there with education, technical support and regular upgrades?
  7. Does the vendor’s philosophy and approach align with yours? This may seem really fuzzy, but it is important to be in sync, since you’ll have to collaborate with the vendor to get your desired results.
  8. Can the vendor validate ROI? Bottom line, can the vendor provide substantiation that your IT investment will deliver a solid, calculable return?

Applying These Criteria to Systems Management Solutions

If you’re wondering how to work these questions into your solution evaluation, take at look at our new Endpoint Systems Management Evaluation Guide. This checklist includes not only features and functionality but also the best fit considerations detailed above. And if you’re in the market for a systems management solution, be sure to put Dell KACE on your list. Quest KACE systems management appliances provide an all-in-one solution that is comprehensive, easy to use, fast to implement and actively supported. We invite you to see how they rate under even the most rigorous solution evaluation methodology.