Purchasing a business technology solution can be a daunting task. A bad decision on a critical piece of technology can cost the company huge profit losses. Typically, the IT leaders of an organization are responsible for researching and providing recommendations for new technology.
Wouldn’t it be a relief if these professionals had a sort of “buying decision checklist” that could help guide them in their choices? These four steps, developed by Ralph Keeney, can help with the decision making process.
Step 1: Identify your real decision problem.
Thoroughly define the need that exists within your company. An easy way to accomplish this is to consult a sample size of employees who will be using the solution. This will help determine actual needs and may bring up issues you otherwise would not have thought of. It’s also helpful to ask them to project any potential future needs so a scalable solution can be put into place.
Step 2: Specify your objectives
The next step is to take those needs and create a list of successful outcomes. For example, there may be a need for a reliable, conferencing solution. The objective then is to identify and purchase a teleconferencing solution that provides high-definition streaming that is compatible with current technology, as well as HD cameras and displays. This may seem obvious, but clearly defining what a successful solution looks like at the beginning of the buying process helps make decisions clearer at the end, especially in the case of very complex needs.
Step 3: Create a full range of alternatives
The research phase is a critical part of any decision-making process. Gathering facts and exploring alternatives provides the basis for an educated decision. Don’t limit possibilities at this stage. Even if a product provides most of what you need but not everything, still take the time to explore its features and note its capabilities. This information may come in handy for pricing comparison down the road, or it may suit the company’s needs at a later time. Being open and curious during this phase prevents you from missing an opportunity or new idea. This is also a perfect time to take advantages of any free trials that may be offered.
Step 4: Understand the consequences of the alternatives.
Fully explore the potential outcomes of each alternative. For IT professionals, this means projecting costs, creating usage models and ensuring alternatives would integrate with current technology already in place. A thorough examination of these consequences should narrow the field of potential products considerably.
Are you interested in a larger checklist full of tips that can help make the buying process easier? Download our free whitepaper, “The IT Buyer’s Guide to Web Conferencing.”