How to Select Marketing Enterprise Software

In his July 8, 2008 Forrester Report "Selecting The Right Enterprise Marketing Software," Suresh Vittal writes about the complexities of selecting marketing enterprise software.

Perceptively, the author mentions at the onset that the missing link comes from "lack of support from a critical partner — IT. " This is nothing new. But it confirms the obstructionist nature of IT teams in most companies.

I would be interested in comments from any of you about why marketers and senior executives view the IT group as generally unsupportive of marketing needs within their companies rather than leaders.

The Forrester report suggests 8 steps to properly evaluate marketing software. But I will summarize the three major components here giving you the opportunity to read about those detailed steps with examples in the actual report.

Number 1 - What needs must the software solve?

The most important and demanding step in the process requires input from all stakeholders in the company to determine the use and needs for the technology. Within this broad theme, the company should evaluate whether the proposed software can meet those goals. As the articles states, "How will the technology ease your pain?"

Number 2 - The cost estimate includes far more than just the license fee.

Assuming the application qualifies in meeting the company's business values, the cost estimate must include far more than the cost of the software license. So this important step incorporates any software support fees and hardware requirements.

Those things are relatively easy to come by.

But determining the human resource requirements is another matter. Staff training, staff additions, reallocation of time from existing managers, data capture processes within the organization needed to feed the database and so on.

This step requires tactical visualization of the status of the program once instituted. This is no easy step and requires the full support of IT if this group is expected to be a part of the program once launched.

Number 3 - Can the proposed vendor handle the future?

The last big issue deals with the implementation options. If you want to manage a single channel, then implementation is simple. But if the application requires enterprise wide marketing technology support, then the vendor should be able to help with this process.

In this last step, evaluate the software vendor's capabilities for filling in any corporate skill or resource gaps. Also, think about the supplier's ability to grow with you in the next 4, 6 or 10 years? Does the supplier's vision mesh with the company's view of its future technology needs?

Suresh Vittal's report http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=45744"Selecting The Right Enterprise Marketing Software" is available for download.

What other steps do you see are needed for advancing a company's marketing technology when selecting a vendor?

Posted on July 24, 2008 .