The main benefits of using a demo script are that:
- It facilitates a common or similar demonstration from each software vendor, and hence
- You can more easily see how each vendor would or would not meet your key needs and requirements
- It enables an easier comparison of the vendors
- You can bring in people to attend for just the part of the software demonstration that’s relevant to them
- It is more detailed than an agenda or ‘software demonstration checklist’
Determine your objective for the demo script.
If you are looking for a demo script to help give you a good overview from a 2-hour demonstration, then you need to keep the script much shorter and less detailed than one for say, a 2-day software review.
Determine the data to be used in the software demonstrations. Your choices are:
- Use the vendor’s data – least work for you and the vendor, possibly confusing but probably acceptable for a short overview demonstration.
- Use your data – either a copy of some real data or dummy data you have created. It’s much more work for both you and the vendor, but you will see the system with recognisable data. And this may be very useful if you are looking at critical or complex processes in detail.
The key steps to creating a software demo script based on either your own systems requirements document or one of our RFI/RFP Checklists, that you have completed, are:
1. Make sure you are working in Excel or spreadsheet software. It’s much faster and easier to amend than a Word / word processing document.
2. Delete all unnecessary items from your original spreadsheet, to leave only your high priority and your absolutely ‘must have’ software requirements to form the basis of the demo script. So delete the following:
- all low priority or nice-to-have software requirements
- all non-functional requirements eg support, training needs
- all unrequired software functionality remaining from the original RFI/RFP Checklist
- possibly even your desirable or medium priority requirements (depending upon how much detail you need)
3. Check that you have included all your commonly used processes and that the ‘requirements’ left in the spreadsheet (demo script) follow these processes from start to finish. Add any critical processes or steps, which have been omitted.
4. You may have some complex processes / system requirements, which you need to ensure are covered by any new software early on in your evaluation. If so, add these in.
5. Optionally, you could amend the requirements to form statements about what you wish to see demonstrated. Alternatively, you could just add a comment such as “Please demonstrate the following software functionality” at the top of the demo script.
6. Add extra columns to enable you to collect additional information during the demonstration eg
- Time to complete a system task
- Number of steps to complete a system task
- Complexity / ease of use
- How well requirements are met
- Notes or other information you require
Consider using a simple scoring method eg (0) requirements not met, (1) partially met, (2) fully met, (3) requirements exceeded. In addition, if you are basing the demo script on a RFP Checklist, delete the unused columns for ‘score, weighted score and vendor response’.
7. Split the spreadsheet (demo script) by key functions / software modules eg accounts receivable, general ledger etc. This will enable you to more easily bring in different people, each for their specific job responsibilities, rather than have people trying to cover areas they are not familiar with. NB: the RFI/RFP Checklists are split this way already – so just leave them as they are.
8. Allocate a rough time limit for each key function / module you wish to cover and tailor the demo script accordingly.
9. It is probably still easier to hand write notes on paper when attending a demo, rather than typing into a laptop or tablet. So, test printing out the demo scripts. Check that there is space to write any comments against the relevant points. Review the demo script and then print out copies for attendees.
10. Obviously, you will need to communicate with the software vendors well in advance – not only to obtain their agreement and willingness to participate, but also to help them prepare. Email the demo script, any data requirements, plus answer any questions they may have or even hold pre-meetings well before the software demonstration.
For more software demonstration information visit: Vendor Software Demonstrations / 20 Top Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations / More software demo tips / Software Demonstration Checklist