At the SDI event I attended last week, Ken Goff gave a compelling talk on tool selection.
This is not a new concept and I’m sure many readers would have used similar methodologies, nonetheless the credit for this article goes to Ken and SDI.
In this article I aim to provide an overview of Ken’s logic. The goal is to build a decision matrix for tool selection that is closely aligned to your requirements. The focus is on making an objective decision based on facts and stripping away any emotion or subjective bias.
Step 1: Define your criteria, wish-list and desires of a new tool (This is a whole topic by itself and won’t be covered here).
Step 2: From this list define which of your criteria are Must Haves or Show Stoppers, there is no point investing in a tool if these features are not included. The remainder will be ‘wants’ or ‘nice to haves’.
Step 3: Assign a weighting score against each criteria
Step 4: Score each tool according to the criteria, then multiply the score by the weighting score to generate an overall score. Eliminate any candidates that do not meet the ‘Must’ criteria.
Step 5: Total all scores to provide an overall objective rating.
To demonstrate this in action I’ll use this methodology to choose a new house to purchase.
Step 1: Criteria: I’m looking for a house to buy in Poole, UK. I would like 3 bedrooms, a Sea View and for the property to be in Poole.
Step 2: Must or Want: It must have a least 3 bedrooms (Must), The Sea View and Location are nice to have.
Step 3: Criteria Score: I will assign a score to the criteria as follows: 3 bedrooms (10), Sea View (8) and Poole location (5).
Step 4: Scoring: See table below. As an example Property 1 has no Sea View (Score 0), it has four bedrooms (score 9) and is within Poole (score 8). Total aggregate score of scores versus weightings equals 130.
Step 5: Property 3 has the highest score, Property 2 is eliminated because it only has 2 bedrooms (A must) and Property 1 is last.
This method might seem overkill for 3 criteria, but becomes very useful when dealing with 50+ requirements.
I have used Poole in Dorset, UK specifically as an example (The fourth highest land value, by area in the world) since it doesn’t matter how suitable your tool is if you can’t afford it. Indeed, the price range of the tool might be factored into the criteria.
Please let me know if you have anything to add to this process or if you have any experiences to share.
In a nutshell, it was vendor beauty parade for interested buyers.
Six ITSM vendors presented an overview of their company to a room full of SDI members. SDI members had the opportunity to engage with the vendors directly and network with their peers.
I think this is a great format. It was crystal clear that if you were attending the event you wanted to hear from the vendors and what they had to say. Vendors support many events but it is rare for the spotlight to be purely focussed on what they bring to the table.
The compere and guide for the day was Ken Goff, who was very keen to stress the importance of building a list of requirements before even thinking about looking for new technology and provided some brilliant insights into the vendor selection process (more to follow over the coming weeks).
“Every product is perfect at what it is designed to do, and rubbish at what is not designed to do” Ken Goff
When the audience were asked what they wanted most from vendors – two answers stood out for me;
Be honest about your shortcomings and scope.
Deliver on your promises
The first point is particularly interesting. As a former software sales rep I am all too familiar with the pressure to say ‘Yes’ to every question asked. It takes courage and wisdom for a vendor to say ‘You know what, that’s not really our area of expertise’.
Talking of sales reps… it seemed a little unfair for ICCM to send two sales reps along to network with the audience. Strictly speaking I guess anyone who is an SDI member can attend, but it seems a little unsporting when the other vendors had taken the time to build booths and prepare presentations.
My only criticism of an otherwise very useful and informative day is that it would have been nice to hear more from a customer perspective, some vendors mentioned what their customers were doing but there was scope for a lot more. i.e. “Here is someone that was in the position as you are now, this is what they did, these are the hurdles they faced and this is how we helped them”.