Home Stretch

Here comes the fun part. You have put together the project team, created the requirements list, evaluated the candidates, and narrowed down the vendors to one favorite and one or two backups. You are now ready to buy. But not so fast! There are some critical activities left to accomplish: checking references, negotiating the best terms, and getting a good price. They are covered in this chapter. Selecting an integrator should also be completed as you finalize the tool purchase, since it makes no sense to buy a tool only to find you have no one lined up to implement it. Integrator selection is covered in the next chapter. The main obstacle to a successful purchase is over-enthusiasm. Once you get to the short list you've usually fallen in love with one of the candidates and it's hard to keep a cool head to complete the process. The reality is that the final steps, checking references and negotiating the best possible deal, make a big difference in both the quality of the decision and the long-term cost of ownership of the tool. Checking references, when well done, gives insights you cannot get through even an in-depth evaluation, and a good negotiator can save a bundle on long-term costs. Even if you can't wait to start the implementation, force yourself to be thorough for the rest of the buying process.