I am very excited to be speaking at the eLearning Guild’s first ECOSYSTEM conference in March. If you have read my responses to LinkedIn or ASTD inquiries, you will see my common concern with how most organizations approach systems evaluation. Far too many organizations start with soliciting external parties for recommendations on what is good, or engage vendors to describe key features. When I ask these parties, “what do you need the system to do for you?”, I quickly discover that most organizations have not taken time to clearly understand (with any depth) what they truly need the system to do, and how it may integrate with other systems in their organization. I have been through systems implementation processes several times in my career. It is one of the largest expenditures for a business. Sadly, I find too often that buyers did not have a sound evaluation methodology to help them find a good fit. And the process to evaluate systems is often extremely wasteful of the time for many key stakeholders. It’s frustrating, So, I created something to help. I’ve had the pleasure of applying my methodology a few times over the past few years, but my most recent experience was truly unique. My co-presenter has an amazing story to tell, stemming from an experience on CBS’s “Undercover Boss” That’s all I will say, because it is her story to tell (yeah, I am a bit of a “tease”). With hundreds of systems on the market, there are plenty of great (and not-so-great) options available. The key is understanding which really are a fit your organization’s needs and culture. This isn’t just “does the system do X?” (most of them can). Your organization has to evaluate whether or not HOW a system performs X is a good fit with your business. HOW these systems execute functions is often much more important than the fact that they can execute a function. My session is focused on a methodology that illustrates how to help various stakeholders from the business collaborate in developing a shared set of balanced requirements. Then, how to optimize each stakeholder’s time in evaluating systems (making each stakeholder sit hostage in hour long vendor presentations for the 10 minutes of content pertinent to their role isn’t a good method). Additionally, this methodology will help your team evaluate the system from the unique perspectives of the roles played within the system (end user, administrator, manager, executive, tech support, etc…). Session attendees will receive an interactive Excel spreadsheet to record requirements and evaluation scores which will calculate insights as part of decision support (support… don’t substitute a tool for actual thinking). There are plenty of great options out there in the industry, but few will actually be a good fit for your business, it’s culture, and existing ecosystem. This session explores a methodology that help you identify the most qualified solutions based on your prioritized, balanced requirements, while optimizing the time investment from your stakeholders.