Choose Your Tools Wisely
comes to automation the choice of tools and products is just as important
as their intended use in your environment. Software companies want to make
you believe that only a single vendor environment will function properly.
While this approach works in some environments it is not universally the
best one. Think about it this way: If you differentiate yourself from the
market by establishing your own special set of services and processes, how
well do you think a "one size fits all" solution by a single
vendor will suit your needs? In addition, most software vendors are in the
business of selling more software, not making what they sold you fit your
needs. And ins some cases a custom software solution may even be the best
fit for you. While this approach is typically associated with a higher
inital investment, it promises a much better fit and supportability down
the road and maximizes the return on your investment. Remember - You will
need custom software to "glue" the components together and make
them fit your needs even if you buy off-the-shelf software.
some guidelines that will help you make good Software purchase decisions:
with the development of your set of decision criteria and functional
needs as opposed to the review of different software packages. This
will ensure you stay focused on what you need and don't get pulled
into a particular vendor's train of thought or selling method.
Buy products specializing in doing fewer things better. Not all components must be by the same vendor. Don’t get caught up in “cool features”, make sure you can tie a business benefit to the solutions.
Don't worry about integration between island solutions as long as you
can identify the solutions have ways to exchange information or expose
their information. Stay away from closed systems with proprietary
logic and data stores. Ask the vendor to provide a data model for
their application and have it analyzed and mapped to your needs.
Buy tools that empower your managers rather than dictating their day-to-day activity.
The worst mistake you can make is force your business into rigid
procedures dictated by the technology. This is a sure way for the
implementation to fail. Keep in mind that you and your people will
have to work with the solution as a tool every day. If the solution
isn't flexible enough or can't be used under all conditions then it
provides limited benefit and doesn't get you close enough to your
Compare solutions for ROI. Don’t be blinded by solutions that shift the cost to the infrastructure. You make money with the tool, not the infrastructure.
Include Software support and maintenance cost in your calculations for
all options, even if the vendor isn't forthcoming with the
Be aware who declares “Best in Class” and what it really means. Ranking doesn’t correlate to pricing – more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. Independent researchers investigate similar products (according to common criteria) and determine the most desirable tool. Understand how the criteria relate to your
When it comes to automating your production environment, the journey is the destination. The steps aren’t just milestones; they’re individual strategies which deserve to be treated as separate projects. Going slower may ultimately get you to the goal in better shape.
Automation is a long term goal, not a one step software deployment.
Copyright (c) 2008 by In Scope-Solutions,