2 November 2022

Software Selection: When to Outsource?

Software Selection:  When to Outsource?

Buying software is easy. Living with the wrong choice is hard.

Selecting software in today’s interconnected and dynamic world presents challenges that only some organisations are genuinely prepared for.

In the past, software applications mainly operated independently of other systems. However, evaluating the suitability of software today often extends well beyond the core application and into its eco-system of connected apps, operating environments, support structures, security, and numerous other considerations.

Why outsource?

Organisations can only expend so much energy on changing software applications. Outsourcing the selection process reduces the time lost from client-facing activities. While a successful selection means the process only needs to occur once.

Unbiased advice. Everyone has an opinion based on experience and personal bias. Employing a proven software selection process through a vendor-neutral external advisor can help all stakeholders see the bigger picture more clearly.

Skip some iterations. Changing software platforms can be evolutionary, but this takes time and money. Short-cut the process with experienced advice, so you can save time and focus instead on embedding the change and leveraging it to make a difference to your organisation.

Expertise. If your team is unfamiliar with the software selection process, it may be beneficial to outsource the project to a consultant with experience with different software types. This way, you can be sure that you are making the best decision for your organisation.

Steps involved in software selection
  1. Know what you need. Requirements gathering is often the first step to understanding what software to implement and leverage to solve business problems. This area requires a specific approach – and asking the right people may not mean just asking management.
  2. Processes and people. Implementing a shiny, new software system is the first step. But adjusting strategies and training people is critical to any software project’s success. Too many new software applications with a significant projected return on investment fail at the first hurdle – implementation time.
  3. Does it play well with others? If you use multiple different systems to run your business, integration or how well applications can share data is critical. Inadequate or unreliable integration between systems costs time and can introduce errors.
  4. Risk evaluation. Are the mechanics of an application under the hood exposing the organisation to too much risk? Potential risk implications could relate to data security, data sovereignty, infrastructure, and support options.
Pros and cons of outsourcing the software selection process

While outsourcing the selection process is great for some companies, it’s not always a perfect fit. Outsourcing the selection process has its ups and downs. They include:


  • You can tap into a team of experts who have experience with a wide range of software products, saving you the time and energy you’d otherwise spend evaluating all the options yourself.
  • An outsourced team can provide an objective viewpoint and help you avoid potential biases in your decision-making.
  • Outsourcing software selection can help you identify solutions that deliver your ideal outcomes while staying within your budget. The professionals can help you avoid the costly mistakes that follow from choosing a product that is not a good fit for your needs.


  • There may be upfront costs associated with hiring an outside firm to handle the selection process, both in terms of capital outlay and resources taken to brief the team on your specific requirements.
  • As they are outside your organisation, there is always a risk that your chosen outsourcer will not fully appreciate the workflow inherent to your business.
  • If your outsourcer makes a mistake, it can have lasting effects. You can mitigate this risk by using service level agreements to outline expected outcomes and penalties should they not be met.
Can you keep the selection in-house?

There are a few key factors to consider when deciding whether to outsource your software selection process or keep it in-house.

Sometimes, it makes more sense to keep the software selection process in-house. These considerations include:

Project size and scope – While outside consultants may suit large or complex software selection projects, you can keep smaller projects with fewer moving parts in-house.

Budget – Outsourcing can be costly, so keeping the selection process in-house may be better if you’re rich in time but low on funds.

Funding requirements – Outsourcing software selection means giving up a chunk of your budget to an external agency. Your organisation needs to decide if it is comfortable with that arrangement.

Time frame – You’re on the clock when you outsource software selection. You have to pick a solution and get it implemented. If timing matters, in-house teams can take their time to find the perfect solution and get it implemented on your schedule.

Expertise – Outsourcing software selection means finding the right experts. In-house teams may have the networks you need to find top-notch solution providers.


The decision of whether to outsource or keep software selection in-house is a challenging one. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to choosing the right software for your organisation, as many different factors go into the decision.

However, there are some key factors that you can consider to help you make the best decision for your company.

When making this decision, consider the size and scope of your project, as well as your company’s budget and timeline. Keep the process in-house if you have the time and resources to select software. However, outsourcing may be the best option for you if you are short on time or resources.