Keeping Your Evaluation Project on Script

February 22, 2021


Written by Julia Hatton


In our book, HRchitect’s Guide to HCM Technology: What you should know before your next HCM technology purchase, we outline six key activities for evaluating and selecting a new HCM system.  While each plays an important role in the evaluation process, a scripted demonstration offers many benefits which make it key in determining if the product will truly be a good solution for your organization.

When we hear from companies who have made regrettable purchases, we often discover that they did not give enough attention to their vendor demonstrations.  As a result, they failed to obtain crucial insight that would have helped them in their decision-making process and were later surprised that their implementation, and subsequent user adoption, did not go as they had hoped.

To prevent buyer’s remorse and ensure the demos provide relevant and useful information as part of an evaluation, we always recommend scripted demonstrations.  Once you’ve down-selected a small group of vendors on which to focus, a scripted demo is the best way to identify whether the vendor’s product will fit the needs of your organization.  While scripted demonstrations may require more effort, planning, and time, the benefits are well worth it.  Here are just a few.


Don’t fall victim to a “dog and pony show.”  Vendors love to wow you with their product’s cool new features and functions.  They will pepper the demo with buzz words about AI, chat bots, employee experience, engagement, and transformation.  It is easy to get caught up in their excitement.  New HCM technology can do some pretty cool things! But can it support your most important business processes?  One benefit of the scripted demo is that it shifts the focus away from those impressive bells and whistles so that they don’t become a distraction from your true business priorities.


The RFP is documentation of what requirements the vendor meets.   The demonstration provides the opportunity to see how they do so.  Think of the RFP as a “tell me” exercise while the demonstration is “show me.”  Creating a demo script comprised of the prioritized, must-have functionality from the requirements in your RFP sets the expectation for vendors to focus on showing how their solution will support your key business processes.  If the demo is not focused on your needs, you will miss opportunities to identify potential shortcomings.   When you see something in action, you may realize it isn’t as smooth or intuitive as you’d hoped.  Or it may give you a chance to provide the vendor further insight to a challenge you are hoping to solve.


Another benefit of a scripted demo is that it gives you more of an “apples to apples” comparison between vendors.  Each vendor demo covers the same items needed to support your business processes.  This allows you to evaluate each vendor with the same set of criteria.  It gives you the ability to compare the how and ease of use between vendors.  Many of your requirements will be things that each vendor can support, though the way they do so could differ wildly.  The scripted demo gives you the opportunity to see this and gauge how well each solution may be embraced by your organization.

These are just a few benefits of a scripted demonstration and why we always utilize them in our methodology.   We understand that time is precious, and that you want to reach decisions as quickly and efficiently as possible.  However, for a purchase that is likely to be with you for the next seven to ten years, scripted demonstrations are a valuable investment to arm your team with the knowledge it needs to make a sound decision.  Don’t make a choice driven by speed only to later spend countless hours on manual efforts and workarounds because the system you purchased doesn’t support your needs in the way you hoped.

To learn about the other benefits of a scripted demonstration and key activities when evaluating and selecting HCM technology, grab a copy of our book, HRchitect’s Guide to HCM Technology: What you should know before your next HCM technology purchase, available now on Amazon.


Julia Hatton is a Senior Strategic Services Consultant, working out of HRchitect’s headquarters backyard – the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Since joining the team in 2012, she has helped over 40 clients with various aspects of their HR technology including creating HR technology strategies, system evaluation and selection, implementation, change management, and ongoing support.

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