Selecting the right Advanced Work Packaging (AWP) software for your project or company can have a huge impact on your chances of successful implementation and accelerated AWP maturity. So it is important to know what to ask from your vendors during the selection process. Here we look at the top five questions that you should always get a firm answer on:
The first and most important question should always be about experience. You do not want to be anyone’s guinea pig. You don’t want to be the sandbox where they learn about all the problems with their software and hurt your project because they are busy fixing them.
Ask for numbers. Ask for project names. Ask for references. Ask for user counts. And if they can’t provide those, or the numbers are in the single digits, run away as fast as you can.
2. Can you integrate with our other tools?
AWP does not operate in a vacuum. If done properly, your AWP software needs to be able to integrate with a host of other tools, such as schedule, document management, material management and 3D model. If the tool on offer can’t do that, or the vendor can’t show experience in that area, you will find yourself with a very expensive digital paperweight.
And if they tell you that you don’t need other tools, that their software can do everything, and that you should just scrap everything else you currently use, be INCREDIBLY skeptical. That software does not exist. Take a “best in class” approach, use tools that do their role well, and integrate them.
3. How long does it take before I can see value?
Implementation of AWP software is not an overnight event. It takes time to configure it to your process, integrate it with your other tools and train your people up on it. For this question, I would be looking for outliers. If the answer comes back as 4-6 months, that is too long and you will struggle to see value. If the answer is 4-6 days, the vendor does not understand the scale of the implementation and is talking nonsense. (Or they are promising you the earth and will spend months disappointing you and charging you more for services hours).
Best case scenario, with everything that is involved, you should be looking for an honest answer of about 6-8 weeks before you are fully in production.
4. How many of your people will this need to operate?
This is critical, because if done well, the vendor should be able to train your people on how to use the software and then get out of the way. If the vendor is pushing to have one of their people on the project for the whole duration, they are as good as admitting that the software will need constant attention and refinement. Basically, they don’t trust their own product or they can’t show you how to operate it without them.
Look for software vendors who want to sell you software, not services. The best operators should be your own people, and if the vendor can’t get you there, the software will never really meet your needs.
5. How much?
There is a reason I have left this for last. A lot of people start with the price and then work backwards. But it is important to see the technical capabilities of the tool and understand the use case before you start talking money. AWP software will always be weighed up against the cost of people, so it is important to understand how it will save you time and effort.
If the cost of the software is the same as one Workface Planner on a project, but using it can save you five or six Workface Planners, the calculation and value proposition become very simple.