Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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Vendor reference call do’s and don’ts

In my 25 June 2012 post I introduced due diligence for software initiatives. When your organization issues a Request for Proposal (RFP), you should ask each vendor to supply customer contact information to allow due diligence. Here are twelve do’s and don’ts for reference calls…

  • Do speak with reference customers with business needs and/or implementation scope similar to yours.
  • Don’t extend each call beyond 30 minutes. Respect the software customer’s time.
  • Do prepare a list of questions that you need answered, and use it as a guideline.
  • Do use a combination of closed- and open-ended questions to allow you to gather good information you might not have anticipated before the call.
  • Don’t ask questions related to confidential contract information such as license or subscription fees or implementation costs.
  • Do ask what some of the greatest challenges were with the software project.
  • Do ask the customer if s/he would select the software and/or implementer if s/he could do it over again.
  • Do keep the number of people on each reference call from your organization to a minimum.
  • Do have the same people in your organization participate in each reference call.
  • Do consider whether you are speaking with a beta customer who adopted the software early, vs. a customer that implemented software when it was more mature.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask a reference customer to provide a short Web or face-to-face demo of the software in action.
  • Don’t limit yourself the references that the vendor provides. If you know someone within another customer’s organization, make a phone call.
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Have you done your due diligence?

Due diligence is a way to manage business risks. Enterprise software initiatives cost in the six and seven figures and take months or years to complete. Prudent organizations conduct due diligence not only on their software consultants, but also on the software, the vendor and implementation team. The due diligence process starts before you first speak with the vendor.

Read EHS Software Due Diligence is Critical to Success to see sample evaluation criteria, learn about reference customer contacts and get advice gathered from customers in the field.


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Selecting the right advisors is critical to EHS software project success

If you are considering taking the leap from spreadsheets, small databases and manual processes to centralized environment, health & safety (EHS) software, then you may need outside help. Choosing the right party to help you is perhaps more important than choosing the right software. Enterprise EHS management information systems project can take several person-years of effort and carry a hefty price tag. These initiatives involve a variety of stakeholders with different agendas, requirements and priorities. If you need an EHS software consultant, how do you qualify and select one?

A new IT Insight column, Tips for Selecting an EHS Software Consultant appears in the June edition of EM magazine. This column provides tips and selection criteria than can enhance your organization’s chances for EHS IT project success.


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Software selection made easier

There is no such thing as “software selection made simple” or a “silver bullet” killer app that meets every organization’s environment, health & safety (EHS) needs. Companies looking for EHS and Sustainability software have many choices—too many, in fact.

The Paradox of Choice says that too many choices make it harder. Companies often choose software because it is easy to evaluate, rather than what best fits their needs. With thousands of commercial EHS software applications available in the marketplace, how does an organization evaluate and select software?

Read The Software Selection Paradox to learn more.


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Multiple vendor interactions essential to software selection process

Earlier this month I facilitated a series of software demos for an energy client. This was not the first time that the software vendor interacted with the stakeholders, or vice versa. We had several email communications, conversations and Web meetings among a core group of vendor and client representatives before the vendors ever set foot on site.

Selling software is about relationships and understanding needs. These interactions—in concert with a few critical documents—helped the two parties to understand each other, and helped to set both parties up for success.


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Welcome to our weblog!

Welcome to the Lexicon Systems, LLC weblog. The lexicon blog  provides insights on sustainability and  environment, health & safety (EHS) issues, and the information systems and technologies that support them.

Jill Barson Gilbert, QEP
President & CEO
Lexicon Systems, LLC

©2002-2012 Lexicon Systems, LLC.