Extended Software Evaluations

Filed under: Technology; Author: Les Bain; Posted: August 29, 2008 at 2:19 pm;

I question the value of doing extended software evaluations. I recommend that people find a product that has the basic functionality they need, and instead of evaluating multiple products, spend the time learning how to use the product effectively.

There are several reasons for this:

  • Software products change so rapidly, that extended evaluations are difficult because things are always changing.
  • There is usually a price point that is the major factor.  Find the product in your price range, get it, and spend your time learning how to make it work for you.
  • Software rarely matches 100% of the need.  Once the product is installed, time can be spent finding ways to satisfy the rest of the functionality needed.

I was once in a mainframe Information Technology company that needed to decide on a database system.  Mainframe database systems cost 100K or more and the usual evaluation period was 6-9 months.  The CIO called anyone with database experience into a conference room, invited them to tell of any mainframe database product, and do a quick evaluation.  We decided on a product during that meeting, ordered it the following day, and installed if with a few days.  At the end of 6-9 months, we had the first two applications running, and we all knew how to use the database product.

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