When you are researching which providers to use for a new software implementation, using case studies can help.
Case studies offer the compelling proof that the software you are considering actually does what it claims and that users are happy with it, engendering trust in your supplier.
Here’s a look at how case studies can help you and how you can use them.
What are Case Studies?
Case studies explain how a company has overcome an issue and then achieved a positive result. They vary in format, length and complexity according to the type of solution being presented. They are often written and published on company websites or are printed for distribution at exhibitions and events. Others are in video or audio format, with testimonials from those involved in the project, or they can be presented visually as infographics.
Case studies about software solutions analyse the problems that a company had before a change was implemented. Typically, the case study will examine why the solution was chosen and may explain how it compared with competitive options.
The case study will cover the implementation of the project, including any hurdles that were overcome. Finally, the case study will demonstrate how the software solved the initial problems and will describe the outcomes, laying out any tangible results.
The Value of Case Studies in Researching Software Suppliers
Case studies let you see what solutions others in your industry have chosen. There is a wide range of software available so being able to check how those in your sector have approached issues similar to your own can provide some additional perspective when it comes to choosing a supplier.
You can relate to other businesses in your industry who were in the same situation as you and identify the solutions that they have used. A case study provides the proof that projects have been implemented and supplies more in-depth information about the software and how it has solved issues for users.
The case study acts as a third-party reference, establishing a greater degree of trust in the supplier. This will give you the confidence that they have worked for companies in your sector. And while all companies are different, experience of your industry will assure you that they already have a good understanding of the constraints in your sector how businesses like yours work.
Case studies will often convey the metrics that have been improved by using the software. In the case of ERP software, you can expect it to reduce costs, increase efficiency, reduce errors and more. So, check the precise figures for an idea of how the software might be able to improve aspects of your own operation.
Vendor Case Studies
There are typically two choices to be made when implementing new ERP software. The first is which software you will choose and the second is which partner will implement it.
In choosing the actual software, vendor case studies are useful for evaluating and comparing different software solutions. They are found on the original vendors’ websites and help by giving you a good understanding of who in your industry has used each software product.
So, when evaluating ERP vendors, go to the websites of each solution you are considering and see who their satisfied customers are. NetSuite, for example, has more than 31,000 customers in every conceivable industry, with varying use cases and in hundreds of countries across the world.
Implementation Partner Case Studies
It is even more important to check the case studies of the implementation partners you are considering.
If a supplier has published case studies available on its website, then it proves that they have good relationships with their customers. They will have implemented successful projects, which their clients are happy to talk about publicly.
It’s important to choose a partner that has experience of your own industry sector. Search their case studies to check their vertical specialisations and to discover their familiarity with your own sector. You can see which companies similar to yours have used the solution. By reading the relevant case studies, you will gain an understanding of the likely issues to be overcome and how that particular software product can help.
You needn’t stick just to your precise vertical, though. Say, for example, that you run an art supplies ecommerce business. You can readily discover how other types of ecommerce business have successfully implemented a particular brand of software too – even if they sell pharmacy products, clothing or photography equipment. Because they each operate in ecommerce, they have similar issues, run comparable warehouse operations and will therefore need similar solutions.
Equally, if you are a law firm looking for a software product, you will want to manage client projects, track your consultants’ billable time, and administer project billing. You can of course look for case studies about law firms. But those for other professional services firms will also be useful – like case studies about management consultants, architects, advertising and creative agencies, and so on. That’s because these are all comparable in the channels they sell through and the approach they take to client management.
Other important factors you might want to consider include the size of company in revenue or employees, the goals they had for the software, the size of their distribution operation, and the number of clients or customers they have. Again, seek out an implementation that has worked with companies of the same sort of size as you, and with the same objectives.
Reference Sites and Meeting Other Users
You may want to investigate further – beyond the scope of a case study. To do this, ask your shortlist of suppliers to refer you to customers in your industry.
You can then ask them about how they use the software, why they chose it, and what they like and dislike about it. You should also ask about what it was like to work with the implementation partner and how the project was managed.
For implementations that involve a warehouse, it can also sometimes help to make a site visit, to fully understand how the use of the software system meets their needs and how it handles warehouse processes.
A reference site visit will tell you what you need to know about the software partner’s knowledge of the system, how they manage implementation projects, their approach to training and support, and how they handle unexpected issues that might crop up.