When I work with clients on system selection (or when I’m presenting on this topic), I point out that one of the objectives of the process is to minimize the number of software demos we actually have to sit through.

Software demos are one of the most expensive steps in the system selection process, because they take a lot of time to prepare for, and require a lot of time from a lot of staff. When you calculate all the staff hours put into organizing and attending a software demonstration, the price runs up pretty quickly.

The second problem with too many software demos is that after seeing two or three, all of the products and demos start to run together. As one of my clients put it, “It’s like trying too many perfumes at the cosmetic counter.” And while I’m not prone to trying any perfume at the cosmetic counter, she’s exactly right. After about the third perfume, the smells all blend together, and you really have no idea which one you liked or didn’t. And so it is for software demos.

So if you’re working through the system selection process, be sure to minimize, as much as possible, the number of different software products you actually look at. You’ll come out smelling much better.