Selecting a new software solution for an enterprise is a high resource activity that may consume a lot of time and effort. In an ideal scenario, any new software, after implementation, should solve technical issues while aligning with the organization’s long-term strategy. With literally hundreds of software solutions in the market, selecting a single one can be a mammoth task for any non-technical person in an enterprise.
Analogously, technical experts or consultants brought in from the outside may not have the necessary strategic insight coupled with relevant industry knowledge. In such a scenario, a proper software evaluation process is one of the most vital stages in the software purchasing decision to ensure that the decision-makers in the enterprise can make an appropriate decision when selecting a new software solution.
However, such a decision should not be ad-hoc. It necessarily needs to be data-driven and quantifiable. Let’s look at the key parameters for software evaluation you need to consider before making a software purchasing decision.
What are software evaluation parameters?
During the software evaluation process, in an ideal scenario, you should be able to quantitatively assess the new software in terms of the following parameters: usability, maintainability, and sustainability.
Software evaluation necessarily involves checking whether a particular software exhibits certain qualities or conforms to specific characteristics that you should explicitly define before the evaluation process starts. Monitoring the parameters mentioned above will help you determine whether a particular software fits your business’s immediate requirements and long-term strategic goals.
Why are they an essential part of software evaluation?
Software evaluation parameters are an essential part of any software evaluation since the parameters will help you perform a quantitative and data-based evaluation of any new software. After all, being able to assess software quality ends up with you balancing subjective user experience against hard objectivity. Suppose you don’t carry out the evaluation process with these parameters in mind. In that case, any decision you make about a software purchase may run the risk of ending as a complete failure of time, effort, and money.
Which parameters are relevant to an evaluation?
The three key evaluation parameters mentioned above are further divided into sub-parameters as listed in the table below. The evaluation team needs to ensure that the decision-makers get concrete answers to the questions mentioned below:
|Parameter||Sub-Parameter||Questions to be answered|
|Usability||Understandability||Can the software be easily understood?|
|Documentation||Is the software documentation appropriate, comprehensive, and well-structured?|
|Buildability||Is it straightforward to build the software on a supported system?|
|Installability||Is it straightforward to install the software on a supported system?|
|Learnability||Is it easy for users to learn how to use the software’s functions?|
|Sustainability||Identity||Is the project/software identity clear and unique?|
|Copyright||Is it easy to see who owns the project/software?|
|Licencing||Has there been the adoption of an appropriate license?|
|Governance||Is it easy to understand how the project is run and the
development of the software managed?
|Community||Is there evidence of current/future community?|
|Accessibility||Is there evidence of current/future ability to download?|
|Testability||Is it easy to test the correctness of source code?|
|Portability||Is it usable on multiple platforms?|
|Supportability||Is there evidence of current/future developer support?|
|Analysability||Is it easy to understand at the source level?|
|Changeability||Is it easy to modify and contribute changes to developers?|
|Evolvability||Is there evidence of current/future development?|
|Interoperability||Is it interoperable with other required/related software?|
Suppose you are the decision maker in an enterprise evaluating new software. In that case, you should do a comparative study of the various software packages being evaluated and score each software based on how well or poorly it performs regarding the parameters and sub-parameters defined above.
Example of a typical use-case
As a use case scenario, consider an enterprise that is looking to purchase a digital asset management (DAM) platform. The evaluation team needs to primarily consider how each DAM
- Is easy to implement and use across the organization
- Scales among regions/internationally
- Integrates with the other tools currently being used by the organization
- Can accommodate a diverse set of disparate users
During the evaluation process for each DAM, the evaluation team should score the said DAM on each sub-parameter/parameter where relevant. For example, one particular DAM may score high on the sub-parameter “Understandability,” whereas a different DAM may score high on the sub-parameter “Learnability.” In the final analysis, the decision makers carrying out the evaluation process may give greater importance to one particular parameter/sub-parameter over a different one.
Selecting a new software system for your enterprise may seem to be an arduous process. However, it can be broken down into discrete steps during the evaluation stage. During the software evaluation phase, it is vital for you to evaluate software based on the key parameters that we’ve mentioned in this article.
If you are making a major software purchase decision, then it’s important to rely on an honest third-party evaluation based on the right combination of user feedback, testing and professional analysis. Now is a good time to contact TopSoft and find out how we can help you make the right choice.