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7 Steps to Guaranteed Failure When Shopping for a New Major Software Application

Dan Heffernan's article in the Publishing Partners Guide 2019

Dan Heffernan

Posted on: 07 February 2019


Over the decades, we have listened to countless stories of organisations who have chosen the wrong software application to accomplish some major task (sales order processing, CRM, etc), so we’ve honed a list of the steps, which, when strung together, can guarantee failure – the wrong system will be chosen. This will cost your organisation lots of money and years of wasted time. Here they are:

1. Make sure you are unclear about your requirements, so you can’t communicate them to the software vendor. After all, if you’re clear, you might slip up in your communications and let the vendors know what you really need. This could be the first step in your path toward non-failure, which would, in itself, be a failure. Right?

2. Automatically flock to the latest shiny and bright new system that seems too good to be true, regardless of its ability to meet your requirements. See #1 above – if you aren’t clear about your requirements, then this will be easy – just concentrate on the flocking and ignore what the application actually does.

3. Don’t talk with experts / consultants / colleagues in the industry to find out who they recommend the list of players to be. If you do speak with such persons, you might get actual solution providers confused with vendors who will promise to provide whatever solution you ask for without actually checking to see if it will meet your needs.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, ask for references, but if you do, make sure you don’t talk with those references. After all, why would you want true experience to confuse your decision-making? Choosing is hard enough.

5. Shop for price only – all the solutions must be the same, right? So, the cheapest must be just as good as all the others.

6. Do not consider working with solid, established companies, because they have experience which might guarantee success. Also, they might be around years from now when you still need them. Instead, go for the lean and inexperienced start-ups with no track record of success. They’ll make up for their shortcomings with boundless energy (and billable hours).

7. Do not pay close attention during software demonstrations. Don’t ask “how” the software will do something. Stay out of the weeds. Just imagine that cool new software being used by your organisation, and life will be good.

Now that we’ve given you the seven steps to failure, just add an attitude of limitless optimism, no matter what fiascos occur, and sit back and watch as the consequences of your choice unfold. Don’t be realistic… just trust that everything will work out. And it won’t. Guaranteed!

“Shop for price only – all the solutions must be the same, right? So, the cheapest must be just as good as all the others.”

About us

AdvantageCS is the developer of Advantage – subscription, marketing and membership management software for publishers, who use it to manage their digital subscriptions, entitlements, magazines, bundles, e-products, conferences and events, membership and donations, payments and customer service. A privately-held company, AdvantageCS has been serving the publishing industry since 1979.


Tel: +1 734 327 3600





About Dan Heffernan
(Details last updated: 4 February 2019)

Dan Heffernan is vice president, sales, marketing, & product planning at AdvantageCS.

Tel: +1 734 327 3600

Email: Send a message to this author


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