Selecting a new system is a daunting task. After all, there is so much to think about.
You have to take into consideration your use cases:
- Does the solution put in front of you meet your needs?
- How will it change your business and even simply, how much is this going to cost us?
That’s before you get into the other things like:
- How will it be implemented?
- What is the vendor like?
- How much support do we need?
This list could go on and on.
Yet, how do you select a solution without spiralling into analysis paralysis where you have so much information and multiple questions and answers that you just can’t seem to move forward with your decision?
Well hopefully the below will help you in your process.
Of course, it’ll be no surprise we’re a solution provider within the digital archiving space but the below steps work for any solution you may be looking to acquire.
So have a read and please reach out if you have any questions.
Step 1: What are you looking for?
This may sound like a daft thing to say but it’s worth thinking about.
- What is it that you’re actually looking for?
- What is/are the main problem(s) you’re hoping to solve with it?
Write down your problem statement and what you want the solution to help solve.
For an archiving solution the problem statement may be:
“We have an eTMF from a closed clinical trial which needs to be retained in line with the requirements outlined in EU Regulation 536/2014.”
The thing you want from the solution would be:
“We want a system that can accept all our data regardless of where it came from and keep it protected in a single place safe for years to come.”
Compiling these statements will help you keep focus when looking out to the market and will help you present you need to possible vendors who may be able to help.
Step 2: Plan it out
Anyone who has read some of our other blogs will know we love a simple plan…but there is a reason.
Having a simple plan lets you see where you are starting from, what you need to do and provides sight of the end.
For something like this, you may have processes and guidelines set by your procurement that you can leverage but a basic plan would be something like the following:
1. Identify the need
2. Explore the market and options
3. Decide on what fits your requirements
4. Negotiations between both sides
5. The final decision
6. Move over to implementation
Looking at the above it seems so simple, but that’s the beauty of this sort of plan.
It keeps you focussed on the important things. You may choose to add in other sub-steps regarding RFPs and *Sandboxes and so on, but the plan keeps you grounded.
*A sandbox is where you may have access to the solution for a limited time to test it out and see if it works with your requirements.
Step 3: Selecting that solution
So, the first few steps in our plan are pretty easy with most people being comfortable at having a look at what is out there. And then usually, you can pass over the final steps to procurement or finance to manage. It’s that middle bit – Decide – where people fall over.
I have seen many different approaches to making this decision but the one that I see working the best (and stopping people from getting frustrated) is to put together a simple set of criteria you will work with.
You can go ahead and have a weighted scoring matrix which considers everything from the features, cost and even, the colour of the solution against your corporate colours… you need to make sure they don’t clash after all.
A simple selection criterion may consist of:
- Does the proposed solution meet our must have requirements?
- Does the proposed solution fit within our company landscape (Cloud first?)
- Does the vendor provide us with enough trust that they will support us as needed?
- Do the end users get what they need without too much disruption?
- Does the solution fit our budget?
Step 4: When nothing else works…
Remember your initial problem statement and what you wanted the solution to solve.
Forget about all the different ways of doing something, all the different vendors, prices, configurations.
Keep it simple and go back to the beginning.
One last thing…
Remember the personal aspect of this. The solution you select comes from a vendor – you need to get on with these people, you need to trust them and that isn’t something you can often put a numerical score on but should be taken into account.
How many times have you bought something from a different store to the one you were just in because you preferred the experience elsewhere? Remember that and use that gut feeling.
11 Jul, 2022
Do I have enough data for a digital archive?
11 Nov, 2021
3 simple ways to improve your QMS
27 May, 2022