Evaluating COTS Software: Can Off the Shelf Software Work For Your Business?
One of the major problems businesses encounter when attempting to implement software is not fully understanding how commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) software stacks up against their business needs.
And while custom-built solutions are an Application Developer’s dream, they aren’t always necessary.
“Overshooting your business needs or not fully understanding what those needs are is extremely detrimental to an organization’s IT success,” said David Safrinko, Director of Application Services at DISYS. “This is why choosing the right software, whether COTS or custom, is so important.”
Whether standardizing accounting processes, creating additional communication channels within a business or streamlining operations, chances are there are a multitude of COTS products on the market that can meet a few of, or most of a business’s needs. But knowing how to effectively evaluate business and IT needs is something many companies don’t take seriously – and they often end up spending major money for minor or insignificant results.
“The increased use of COTS software in organizations of any size makes evaluation and selection of an appropriate product an essential activity,” Safrinko said. “But a major issue arises when the right individuals are not involved in the evaluation process.”
Some of the most common COTS evaluation mistakes include:
- Making a major software decision based solely on an internet search resulting in an inadequate level of effort in evaluation
- Understanding new product releases, the frequency of them and vital updates to systems
- Businesses choose a software based on industry list rankings, versus requirements comparisons within their actual environment
- Marketing data is accepted as fact and an organization doesn’t ‘try before they buy’
These criteria indicate COTS software evaluation is much more than simply reading the description on the back of a software package or even reading reviews and one-pagers on a software website. Evaluation takes time, study, understanding and a holistic view of current and future needs.
To avoid critical software mistakes and ensure a proper ROI, organizations are turning to firms like DISYS to help in the evaluation process of COTS software. DISYS, with an expert team of software developers and IT industry leaders, takes their best-in-class expertise and puts it to use to give a client an unbiased, agnostic look at potential software partners.
Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC, (DISYS) has standardized its COTS process in order to get client systems up and running quickly – with little to no disruption to day-to-day operations.
“The beauty of the COTS Software Evaluation Framework we designed and employ is that it enables our DISYS team to fully understand what a business requires and what it wants to accomplish,” Safrinko said. “Then the calculator evaluates each software requirement against the capabilities of each COTS software offering, generating a weighted scorecard. It takes the guess work out of software selection.”
The COTS Application Evaluation Scorecard gives clear insight into the capabilities of each software component and how it stacks up to what a client wishes to achieve. It also takes into account ease of use, training time and upkeep criteria as well as a clear breakdown of the software’s coding and architecture.
“The Scorecard separates human bias and influence while grading COTS solutions on what is important to achieve the ultimate business goal,” Safrinko said. “This framework helps DISYS clients make decisions with their eyes wide open to what a ready-made software solution offers. It’s just one of the many ways DISYS is helping its clients reach and exceed their business goals.”
About Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS)
Digital Intelligence Systems, LLC (DISYS) is a global managed services and staffing firm with 33 offices worldwide specializing in Managed Staffing Services, Agile Services, Application Development Services, Business Intelligence Services, Cloud Enablement Services and Enterprise Resource Planning. For more information DISYS, fill out our Contact Us form or reach out to the DISYS office nearest to you.
The DISYS Difference:
Sometimes, custom solutions aren’t necessary to fulfill a client’s IT business goals and objectives. When looking at potential software solutions, DISYS helps clients choose wisely through the unbiased analysis provided by the COTS Application Evaluation Framework.
Allowing a client to see all software options in one consolidated place not only provides the chance to choose software for current needs and future growth, but also allows clients to understand what is readily available on the market to keep vital business systems up and running, fast and efficiently.
DISYS wants its clients to be able to make wise, educated software choices so organizations can continue to support their daily operations and look towards future growth and productivity.