Five Mistakes That Can Kill a Technology Project [On-demand video]

  • 30-Oct-2017

If you've ever been involved in an enterprise technology replacement or new implementation project, you know there are many places where things can go wrong.

But there's nothing worse than seeing a project doomed to fail before the implementation even begins.

Every year, we help dozens of enterprises select new technology. Regardless of the industry or sector, we've seen many common mistakes that cause technology projects to go off the rails before they even start. Here's a list of the top five mistakes that we've seen selection teams make during the procurement phase..

Watch this 30 min video of recently recorded briefing to learn about the common mistakes that enterprises make when embariking on a technology selection project.

Technology Selection Mistakes

Here are the 5 mistakes as outlined in the briefing:

1. Shortlisting the wrong vendors

Choosing products that are fundamentally ill-suited to your usage scenarios often leads to years of costly customization. We recommend identifying your unique needs up front in the context of testable use cases, and align these needs to the strengths of the solution offerings in the marketplace. You can use Real Story Group research and the Custom ShortList Builder to help you get started. 

2. Canned demos

Many selection teams fall in love with the canned demos that software salespeople love to show. In the real world it is extremely rare that the canned use cases actually match your enterprise's unique challenges. You need to insist that vendors demonstrate their ability to execute the processes and handle the types of content that exist in the everyday world of your enterprise.

Guess what?  They'll push back.  Few vendors are very good at diverging from their own narratives.  No matter: push back and make sure you test any solution according to your cases, not theirs.

3. Not getting the full implementation picture

Throughout any vendor selection it's easy to focus on just the technology. While this is extremely important, you should not lose sight of the fact that the technology is just one piece of the puzzle that will determine your project's success.

In particular, don't forget the implementation. Make sure you get a clear indication for who will be doing the actual implementation of the technology. Vendor professional services? A third-party integrator? Internal staff? Likely it will be a combination of all of these. You'll want to clearly define the roles of each and understand how the parties will work together.

4. Not properly test-driving the solution

You wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, right? Then why would you buy something much more expensive without getting your hands competing products?

Before agreeing to purchase software, we recommend that you conduct a head-to-head bake-off between finalists where you are able to allow your users to actually use the system. Ideally this bake-off happens in your environment, with your content, and your processes. Not only will you learn what it is actually like to use the technology, you will gain a much deeper understanding of what it is like to work with the vendor. In our experience, the projects with the most realistic bake-offs result in the most successful implementations.

5. Waiting too late to negotiate

Time and time again we see technology buyers put off negotiating pricing and (increasingly important) contract terms until after they select a vendor and product.

In these cases, you lose bargaining power. Begin the negotiations in the RFP stage and continue the conversations in the demo and bake-off phases. When it comes time to making the final decision you should be sure that you are getting the best pricing from all of your finalists. This way there are no surprises later and you will be sure you can go with your first choice.


These aren't all the considerations in a technology selection process.  Our research delves into much deeper detail.  But at a minimum, make sure you avoid these five mistakes, to give yourself a fair shot to succeed. 

Need more help?

On a case-by-case basis, the Real Story Group provides advisory services to enterprise product selection teams. Contact us at to start the conversation.

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