a man playing three card monte
Selecting the right technology can feel bewildering for even the most experience executive. "The Right Way to Select Technology" offers a helping hand PHOTO: Rich Anderson

The links between business and technology are becoming tighter by the day. But while technology, especially automation, makes our lives easier and our efforts more effective, choosing the right solution is a seemingly insurmountable challenge for most. 

Sure, there’s plenty of information out there, but a lot of that information comes from the vendors themselves, who, understandably, portray their own solutions in the best light possible. 

How do you decide? A standard methodology for choosing technological solutions would make this a lot easier.

With the release of "The Right Way to Select Technology" this month, we now have that methodology. 

Drawing From Rich Experience in Tech World

Authors Tony Byrne and Jarrod Gingras teamed up with Rosenfeld Media to help us navigate what can be a rather treacherous — not to mention time-consuming — technology selection process. The book takes Byrne’s nearly two-decades of leadership in the field of technology selection with Real Story Group (previously CMS Watch), and turns it into a digestible, actionable plan that anyone can follow. 

Moreover, the methodology the authors lay out can be applied to almost any process related to selecting the best solution for your company’s needs and then working directly with the vendor to make sure things run smoothly. The approach also eliminates one of the most common pitfalls: choosing a solution based on the recommendations of one or two enthusiastic employees.

Straight-Talking Technology Selection Advice 

The book’s best feature is the language. None of that academic, elitist language here. Instead, Byrne and Gingras take a direct, no-nonsense approach throughout six sections and 17 chapters, with straight-shooting titles like, “Craft a No-Bullshit Business Case,” “Create RFPs that Actually Work” and “Make the Right Final Selection.”

Specific advice covers areas like:

  • The difference between an RFI, an RFP and an RFQ, as well as guidance on which one is best suited for different situations
  • How to assemble the right team
  • How to make your business case
  • How to avoid common pitfalls

However, while the book is easy to read, that doesn’t mean it’s intended for beginners. The authors assume that readers have some degree of technological expertise, are familiar with digital and have basic knowledge of concepts like user-centric design.

In addition, while the appendix touts additional resources, such as sample RFPs and other tools to give you a jumpstart on the selection process, they are not included in the book itself. Instead, you must visit Real Story Group’s website. While the approach is helpful for keeping the material up-to-date, it detracts from the book’s usability as a standalone reference.

A Selection Process Outside of the Best-Case Scenario

As a whole, the book promises to be not only an interesting read but a resource worth keeping within arm's reach for years to come.

For the second edition, it would be great to see alternatives for selecting the right technology when the ideal selection process isn’t a realistic option. Often we are presented with end-of-year funding, a timeboxed mandate from above, or some other pressing circumstance which simply doesn’t allow for following the best-case approach. I would love to see more about how we adapt the ideal technology selection approach to an agile scenario.

Another consideration worth discussing is the resources required to run the selection process. The authors do a great job of outlining a well-balanced technology selection team. However, that may not always be feasible. Again, it would be helpful to understand how one can compensate when lacking the full-scale involvement and resources needed to support the best-case process.

A Reference Book for Anyone Involved in Procurement

Not only is "The Right Way to Select Technology" jam-packed with valuable information, it’s presented in accordance with Rosenfeld Media’s traditional editorial style, laid out in easily digestible, actionable chunks of information, telling readers precisely what they need to know without overwhelming them with extraneous information.

At a pre-release price of $27, this book is a steal even when used just for its stated purpose. The reality, however, is the methodology described in "The Right Way to Select Technology" is applicable to a wide variety of endeavors. 

It stresses the importance of teamwork — selecting a technology solution isn’t a one-person job — and applies to procurement experts as well as IT leaders. It truly is a book for everyone involved in the process of selecting the right IT solution for their company’s needs — and that applies no matter where you are in your procurement process. It’s never too late to stop for a minute and look back to make sure you’ve followed the book’s recommended process.

"The Right Way to Select Technology" provides a framework for everyone involved in the decision-making process to increase the chances of a sound investment and a positive ROI.