When you are looking at software vendors with a view to changing your system, you’ll need to attend many face-to-face demonstrations. We list below 30 tips for getting the best out of attending software demonstrations.

BEFORE THE SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION

Decide on your objectives for arranging / attending the software demonstration. Keep all demonstrations as consistent as possible, with a similar format to aid comparison. Create an agenda for you want to see in the demonstration. Ensure it covers your organisation’s needs. Forward a copy to the vendor well in advance of the demonstration. Where possible, use your data or relevant data in the demonstration. This removes any distraction and possible confusion from seeing irrelevant data. However, it does mean copying some of your present system data (if it is not too sensitive) or creating data which is similar to your current data and then forwarding it to the vendor. Know your new system software requirements. You can quickly prepare your requirements specification with Axia’s RFI/RFP Templates. Create a list of key questions you wish to ask all vendors, plus specific questions for certain vendors. Prepare a ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ (below) to assist you during the demonstration. If time permits and the vendor is willing or able to use them, create ‘demo scripts’ for each vendor to follow. Typically these would be based on your most critical processes, functions or current problems (see demo script tips below). Also, here’s how you can use Axia’s RFI/RFP Templates to assist in building demo scripts. If the software vendor is holding the demonstration at your premises, ensure that your facilities are up to standard eg o the network, communications, power and equipment required, are working o there is sufficient room for the attendees and vendor o you won’t be disturbed during the demonstration Allow sufficient time for the demonstration – plan a contingency for the demonstration to run over the allotted time. DURING THE SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION Ensure the vendor demonstrates the live system, not just slides or PowerPoint presentation. Use your ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ to make sure you cover all the points you want to in the demonstration. Do ask all the questions you need to. Have a copy of your system requirements, RFI, RFP or demo script available to refer to and score where requirements met. Take notes – you won’t remember everything afterwards! AFTER THE SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION Follow up carefully. Review your scored / ticked RFI, RFP, demo script. Write up and combine your notes. Clarify any outstanding queries with the vendor. Review and analyse your findings, and consider the software strengths and weaknesses. Compare the results with those of other vendor software demonstrations. And decide what further action you wish to take with the vendor. Inform the vendor and your team / employees involved in the selection process. SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION CHECKLIST A software demonstration checklist helps ensure you cover everything you need to see and ask when attending a software demonstration. An example is below, and for illustration purposes, sample data has been included for an accounting software demonstration. Vendor / software Vendor name: Software name: Software version (being demonstrated): Vendor contact name: Vendor contact telephone / email: Date, time, location (of demonstration): Attendees: Agenda items - covered? (Yes/No) Demo of each module Work through demo scripts Key questions Meets mandatory system requirements? (Yes/No) General ledger Accounts payable Purchase order processing Accounts receivable Sales order processing Fully integrated modules Fully web enabled Supports 50 concurrent users SQL database Demo scripts - covered? (Yes/No) GL allocations Invoice order matching Integration with CRM Key questions - covered? (Yes/No) Project time scales / feasibility? Outline / typical project costs? Implementation assistance Support / SLA DEMO SCRIPT TIPS If you wish to use a demo script, ensure you take sufficient time to prepare it carefully and create a quality script. Recognise that you will not be able to cover everything in a software demonstration – so focus the script on the most important requirements / processes. Where possible, use a weighted demo script, with weighted requirements priorities plus demo scoring. This will allow a more accurate recording of how the software handles each of your requirements. It will force vendors and attendees to follow the script (so as to complete the scoring) and will facilitate a more objective comparison between the different software vendors. Design the demo script to include space for attendees to write notes and to score the demonstration (ie how well the software meets your requirements). Decide on a scoring scheme, test it out and ensure that all attendees understand how to score the demonstration – so you get consistent scoring. Allocate a set amount of time for each of the functional system areas / processes you wish to cover in the software demonstration. Get the right people in your demonstration evaluation team. You need to have a representative from all the different functions you wish to see demonstrated, as well as from IT. Allow all to put forward their ideas and opinions. However, also ensure the team works well together and agrees a consistent approach for all of the software demonstrated. Only schedule and attend software vendor demonstrations after you have gathered, prioritised and agreed your requirements. Don’t put the cart before the horse! If you do, you are likely to head off on all sorts of different directions, become confused and waste a lot of time. Allow the software vendor time to prepare for the demonstration properly. Give them a copy of the demo script well in advance of the scheduled date. If necessary, have pre-demo meetings or email / phone communications so they understand what you require. Appoint a chairman, to keep the demonstration under control, ensure it sticks to the script, deals with attendee questions either for clarification or later follow up and keeps the demonstration within the allocated times. Gather the feedback from each attendee for each demonstration attended. Combine, review and analyse the scores and notes. Undertake further investigations and follow up actions where necessary. For more software demonstration information, visit Vendor Software Demonstrations, Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations, How to quickly create a software demo script

Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations

and software demonstration checklist

Axia Consulting

© 2020 Axia Consulting Ltd. All rights reserved.
17 New Road Avenue, Chatham, Kent ME5 9RL, United Kingdom Contact Us
When you are looking at software vendors with a view to changing your system, you’ll need to attend many face-to-face demonstrations. We list below 30 tips for getting the best out of attending software demonstrations.

BEFORE THE SOFTWARE

DEMONSTRATION

Decide on your objectives for arranging / attending the software demonstration. Keep all demonstrations as consistent as possible, with a similar format to aid comparison. Create an agenda for you want to see in the demonstration. Ensure it covers your organisation’s needs. Forward a copy to the vendor well in advance of the demonstration. Where possible, use your data or relevant data in the demonstration. This removes any distraction and possible confusion from seeing irrelevant data. However, it does mean copying some of your present system data (if it is not too sensitive) or creating data which is similar to your current data and then forwarding it to the vendor. Know your new system software requirements. You can quickly prepare your requirements specification with Axia’s RFI/RFP Templates. Create a list of key questions you wish to ask all vendors, plus specific questions for certain vendors. Prepare a ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ (below) to assist you during the demonstration. If time permits and the vendor is willing or able to use them, create ‘demo scripts’ for each vendor to follow. Typically these would be based on your most critical processes, functions or current problems (see demo script tips below). Also, here’s how you can use Axia’s RFI/RFP Templates to assist in building demo scripts. If the software vendor is holding the demonstration at your premises, ensure that your facilities are up to standard eg o the network, communications, power and equipment required, are working o there is sufficient room for the attendees and vendor o you won’t be disturbed during the demonstration Allow sufficient time for the demonstration – plan a contingency for the demonstration to run over the allotted time. DURING THE SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION Ensure the vendor demonstrates the live system, not just slides or PowerPoint presentation. Use your ‘Software Demonstration Checklist’ to make sure you cover all the points you want to in the demonstration. Do ask all the questions you need to. Have a copy of your system requirements, RFI, RFP or demo script available to refer to and score where requirements met. Take notes – you won’t remember everything afterwards! AFTER THE SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION Follow up carefully. Review your scored / ticked RFI, RFP, demo script. Write up and combine your notes. Clarify any outstanding queries with the vendor. Review and analyse your findings, and consider the software strengths and weaknesses. Compare the results with those of other vendor software demonstrations. And decide what further action you wish to take with the vendor. Inform the vendor and your team / employees involved in the selection process. SOFTWARE DEMONSTRATION CHECKLIST A software demonstration checklist helps ensure you cover everything you need to see and ask when attending a software demonstration. An example is below, and for illustration purposes, sample data has been included for an accounting software demonstration. Vendor / software Vendor name: Software name: Software version (being demonstrated): Vendor contact name: Vendor contact telephone / email: Date, time, location (of demonstration): Attendees: Agenda items - covered? (Yes/No) Demo of each module Work through demo scripts Key questions Meets mandatory system requirements? (Yes/No) General ledger Accounts payable Purchase order processing Accounts receivable Sales order processing Fully integrated modules Fully web enabled Supports 50 concurrent users SQL database Demo scripts - covered? (Yes/No) GL allocations Invoice order matching Integration with CRM Key questions - covered? (Yes/No) Project time scales / feasibility? Outline / typical project costs? Implementation assistance Support / SLA DEMO SCRIPT TIPS If you wish to use a demo script, ensure you take sufficient time to prepare it carefully and create a quality script. Recognise that you will not be able to cover everything in a software demonstration – so focus the script on the most important requirements / processes. Where possible, use a weighted demo script, with weighted requirements priorities plus demo scoring. This will allow a more accurate recording of how the software handles each of your requirements. It will force vendors and attendees to follow the script (so as to complete the scoring) and will facilitate a more objective comparison between the different software vendors. Design the demo script to include space for attendees to write notes and to score the demonstration (ie how well the software meets your requirements). Decide on a scoring scheme, test it out and ensure that all attendees understand how to score the demonstration – so you get consistent scoring. Allocate a set amount of time for each of the functional system areas / processes you wish to cover in the software demonstration. Get the right people in your demonstration evaluation team. You need to have a representative from all the different functions you wish to see demonstrated, as well as from IT. Allow all to put forward their ideas and opinions. However, also ensure the team works well together and agrees a consistent approach for all of the software demonstrated. Only schedule and attend software vendor demonstrations after you have gathered, prioritised and agreed your requirements. Don’t put the cart before the horse! If you do, you are likely to head off on all sorts of different directions, become confused and waste a lot of time. Allow the software vendor time to prepare for the demonstration properly. Give them a copy of the demo script well in advance of the scheduled date. If necessary, have pre-demo meetings or email / phone communications so they understand what you require. Appoint a chairman, to keep the demonstration under control, ensure it sticks to the script, deals with attendee questions either for clarification or later follow up and keeps the demonstration within the allocated times. Gather the feedback from each attendee for each demonstration attended. Combine, review and analyse the scores and notes. Undertake further investigations and follow up actions where necessary. For more software demonstration information, visit Vendor Software Demonstrations, Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations, How to quickly create a software demo script
Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations and software demonstration checklist
© 2020 Axia Consulting Ltd
All rights reserved. Contact Us

Axia Consulting