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Independent Selection Advice In Software Project

Due to the large amount of business software and its suppliers, it's difficult to determine what is the best solution for your organization. Consultants, websites, the service provider that you manage IT and, in particular, the software suppliers themselves are in line to provide you with selection advice, usually with the word 'independent' emphatically. But does independent selection advice actually exist? And is it necessary that every advice is independent?

What is independent selection advice?

In the selection processes of ERP, CRM, HRM or other business software, independence should firstly mean that the organization issuing the advice has no interest whatsoever in the outcome of the selection process. This means that in principle all solutions must be included in the selection. It must also be clear on which criteria the solutions are compared. In addition, any software solution based on those criteria must have the same chance of being recommended as the outcome of the selection. In practice this proves difficult. Most parties that use the word 'independent' when offering their services are certainly not based on this definition.

Advisory firms

Independent IT consultants, large consultancy companies and everything in between lives on the hours sold. We should therefore not be surprised that after completing an assignment, the follow-up assignment is successful. Once inside a client, the assignments are strung together for as long as possible. It's an important component of the business model of almost every consultancy company and service provider that manages or maintains IT. To blame advisers for creating their own follow-up assignments in this logical way is therefore not always justified. That reproach can be better made to the client. Consultants or service providers do nothing but their work. Clients must simply be able to properly assess the necessity and quality of the work.

Early in software project

It's not surprising that IT consultants want to be involved in new software projects as early as possible. The orientation and selection phase are interesting moments for this. If the consultant is already at the table with the client in that phase, this increases the chances that the organization for which the consultant works may also take care of all subsequent phases, such as implementation or training. Usually, in time and money, these are much larger assignments than the selection process.


The prospect of implementation or other follow-up jobs makes it tempting to give direction to the selection process. This selection process preferably leads to a software solution with which the consultant has experience. That can be more than one software solution, but it's never many solutions. In other words, a selection advice that's not unrelated to follow-up assignments that tie in with the expertise of the consultant can't really be called independent. With a software supplier that provides you with information about how to select, you don't have to expect independence at all. Although it's not to be excluded that the butcher who is happy to inspect his own meat for you, supplies good meat.

Guides and selection tools

A characteristic of guides and selection tools is that both always only show a limited part of all solutions. Not every supplier is willing to cooperate with a guide or selection tool, mainly because inclusion is usually not free. The range is therefore far from complete and it makes it difficult to compare well. With selection tools, there is almost always a relationship between the outcome of the selection and the extent to which a supplier is willing to pay for it. In other words, independence is hard to find here and you're not necessarily presented with the best choice.

"A selection advice that's not unrelated to follow-up assignments that tie in with the expertise of the consultant, we can't really call independent."

How then?

If you want to be sure about a meaningful and reliable selection process, your advisors must not have any ties with products or suppliers and don't want follow-up orders. A truly independent adviser sits 'next to you at the table', not 'opposite you'. He or she thinks along with you about your process, is on your side and acts in your interest. There must be no mutual obligations regarding the duration of the cooperation. You must be able to say goodbye to each other in every phase of your IT project. You have extra certainty if you agree in advance with the consultant in the selection process that this doesn't play a role in the implementation of the software. You can of course advise on it.

Check Independence

Feel free to check with consultancy firms about their relationship between selection and implementation work, so that you know the importance of follow-up assignments. Ask makers of guides, comparison sites or selection tools or a software supplier who emerges from the selection and pays for it. Then you know enough. And just ask anyone who wants to provide you with information or selection advice how independent they are and what their definition of 'independent' is. Always keep in mind that independence is an important criterion, but that the most important value of advisers or suppliers may not be so much the degree of independence, but their expertise, knowledge and experience. If that expertise goes hand in hand with a healthy degree of independence, then you're in the right place.

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