How to select CapEx management software

richard-adams
Richard Adams
16 January 2023

Reviewing new products and evaluating suppliers can be time-consuming and hard to know if you are making the right decision. In this blog, we outline some considerations when selecting CapEx management software and appointing a vendor.

Establish functional requirements

You may not have the time (or inclination) to attend endless product demonstrations, so it makes sense to have a general picture of your requirements before you talk to vendors.

Functional requirements document a desired CapEx management system deliverable/behaviour and help you select the most appropriate vendors to engage with. When establishing functional requirements, we advise talking to key stakeholders to understand their needs. You may already have a CapEx request form that users fill in (e.g., paper form or Excel spreadsheet) and a flowchart or list of roles documenting the CapEx workflow.

Do not get too hung up on writing lengthy lists of dry feature requirements to try and cover every little detail though. That will come, but before engaging a vendor, a more general idea of what you are looking for is all that you need. It may be that an important feature suddenly becomes unnecessary when the vendor explains an even better method that their product offers to meet a bigger objective.

During the fact-finding and demonstration stage, you’ll need to consider whether the system features match your functional requirements/user needs. Ask the vendor to a) explain how their products’ functionality meets your user requirements and b) tailor any product demonstration to cover your requirements.

Non-functional requirements

You should not overlook non-functional requirements e.g.

  • Vendor terms and conditions
  • Service level agreements (SLA)
  • Ease of onboarding and offboarding process
  • Fit with your technology infrastructure
  • Data security
  • Disaster recovery plan to ensure there is no disruption to operations
  • Product documentation

Work with a collaborative partner

You will undoubtedly want to evaluate the capital expenditure approval software and its functionality, but we recommend basing part of your review on the vendor.

Do you have a natural rapport with them, and can you trust them? What you need is a team who listens and understands your needs and environment. You want them to be honest and forthcoming with you.

What kind of training and pre-/post-live support does the vendor offer? How responsive are they? Do they offer a ‘test environment’? Will they engage with you early when you’re developing the requirements specification? Will they support UAT?

The right partner is crucial to getting the right solution.

CapEx management software hosting

Your vendor should be comfortable delivering your solution either as an on-site installed and managed application, a dedicated but outsourced environment or a fully cloud-based system depending on your IT resource, time, and budgetary constraints.

The vendor should be able to:

  • Offer access to the full feature set, regardless of deployment option
  • Migrate from any platform type to any other if required
  • Provide private cloud options, where they host a dedicated system for your use only

Cost

When analysing costs, it’s important to ask yourself how much vendor support you might need.

Most CapEx applications replace the need for coding by using drag-and-drop tools with non-technical users self-sufficient in a few days with some training. However, if you want the vendor to build your forms, workflows, and interfaces, you will need to budget accordingly.

The upfront fees may look competitive, but you should factor in training, consultancy, and technical support. Annual support includes problem diagnostics, version updates, and maintenance updates but will cost around 20-25% of the original product cost per year.

Whole-life cost is another factor. Cloud-hosted CapEx management software will offer minimal upfront capital expenditures and predictable ongoing overhead costs but will cost more over its lifetime. An on-premise solution will cost more initially but less overall.

Statement of Work (SOW)

We recommend asking the vendor for a quotation or SOW to include:

  • A written specification of your requirements
  • Details of the implementation plan/timelines
  • Costs for licensing, consultancy, training, and support

User acceptance testing (UAT)

Your vendor should undertake internal testing before releasing the CapEx system for UAT and provide all necessary support to users as they conduct UAT.

We strongly recommend booking at least two rounds of testing, with any fixes and additional development scheduled in between. Never reduce or cancel UAT testing if a project is behind schedule as it will often be a false economy.

Ask for a proof-of-concept

A good vendor will be keen to present progress to interested parties as soon as possible to gather feedback crucial to the ongoing development.

As a result, we recommend asking the vendor for access to a test environment. This can be achieved with the vendor hosting an externally accessible prototype of your CapEx system for the team to use.

If this approach is taken, the feedback is often invaluable to the development and the functional prototypes help gain user confidence in the end solution at an early stage.

Vendor assessment

Part of your vendor evaluation should include a thorough review of their background and financial stability. Ask the company about its past performance, relevant qualifications, and areas of expertise.

One of the most important things you can do is to request references, ask to contact them directly and ask lots of questions. For example:

  • Why did they choose the CapEx software?
  • How does the CapEx planning software perform versus expectations?
  • What are the best features? Are there any restrictions?
  • Has user feedback been positive or negative?
  • How long did it take to implement the capital expenditure management system? Did they encounter any challenges and how were they overcome?
  • How responsive is the vendor?
  • does the vendor offer good support? Do they meet their SLA? Are support issues always fixed?
  • Was training provided and was it valuable?

The reference sites should be current users of the capital expenditure management software and ideally be of a similar size/software configuration.

After-sales support

What level of support will be available post-sale? Are your users technical or non-technical?

Does your CapEx management system require significant technical skills for continued development? The answers to these questions will determine whether you need access to ongoing technical support, consultancy, and training from your vendor.

Conclusion

We hope this article has given you some pointers if you are reviewing the market for the best CapEx management software for your organisation.

Are you looking to automate your CapEx management process? You can schedule your Process Director based CapEx system demonstration or call 03300 100 000 to discuss your requirements.

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