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Emerging Decision Support Systems For Effective Software Evaluation - WayFerry


Written by  Ritu Saxena | 04 September 2012
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wayferryHaving too many choices too is a problem sometimes. It is difficult to decide what product suits the requirements best and yet fall within the budget. Software evaluation is not an easy process these days, given the number of offerings, the complexity of each offering and the lack of time. The traditional software evaluation methods rely on individual/team experience on the choice of the software, on product trials, reading reviews, going through the data sheets, instruction manuals of the product. But all this is very time consuming and might not always churn out the correct results. In the current scenario we need advanced decision support system to make the right choice at the right time to survive in this new world of cut throat competition.

One such interesting Tool that provides Decision Support for Technology Purchasing that came to my notice was WayFerry. WayFerry is a free DIY tool, for evaluation of all kinds of products – simple or complex, software or hardware. My initial reaction was Wow!, now we just need to fill in the requirements, choose from a list of products the enterprise is considering and like any other SaaS solution I will get a report announcing the best possible match for my requirements.

Though Wayferry is not what I expected the benefit Wayferry provides in the current form to its end users is immense, that too without paying a penny. As of now WayFerry help users collect, manage and analyze the IT purchase requirements and evaluate the chosen products for each requirement identified. Based on the information filled by the evaluator, Wayferry comes up with the aggregated percentage scores for each product making it easier to decide upon the product that best suites the enterprise requirements, in the very first go.

Are you still thinking is the product worth? It seems to be just a replacement of the spread sheets that you have been long using as a method of product evaluation. Here comes the information from WayFerry CEO’s desk that highlights the benefits of the evaluation approach used by WayFerry.

With Wayferry the evaluation process is more organized and streamlined. This in itself is a huge benefit, as most people don’t know how to evaluate products because they don’t do it very often. Using Wayferry provides the structure, and makes the entire process much faster.

To summarize the benefits:

  • Structure - no need to develop the evaluation process & methodology yourself as Wayferry is based on the Kepner Tregoe approach
  • Speed - Wayferry is about 50% faster than doing an evaluation on a spreadsheet. If you use an existing requirements library, evaluation projects can be done in as little as 25% of the time compared to a spreadsheet.
  • Thoroughness - Wayferry helps you to do the job properly, especially when reverse engineering product features back into requirements.
  • Reduced Risk - With Wayferry the user has the data to back up the purchasing decision. They KNOW they are buying the best product for their specific requirements, and they know how close the match to their requirements is.
  • Audit trail - The evaluator can use the evaluation to prove they bought the best product for the job. Very important in the pharmaceutical industry in the US. The tool currently provided the option to export the evaluations as spreadsheets and archived.
  • Benchmark Based Decision - By comparing an evaluated product against a hypothetical perfect reference product (i.e. one that "fully meets" all requirements) and expressing the result as a percentage, the evaluator has a good idea of how close a product is to their real requirements.

Future Roadmap

  • For the benefit of the end users Wayferry will be making an evaluation template library available, probably in Q2 next year. The library will contain common lists of requirements for typical projects that a user can copy into their own evaluation. Since requirements gathering is a significant part of these evaluation project, this can save a lot of time. Until the libraries are available spreadsheet exports of evaluation projects are made available to the users.
  • At some point in the future WayFerry plans to allow people to sell completed evaluations so that people can re-use the information, and the evaluator in turn can earn some cash. Product vendors can get valuable marketing information by purchasing evaluations and more.

Expectations from the Tool

  • An Automatic rating mode, where user just fills in the requirements, chooses from the listed products (which are maintained by Wayferry) and obtains a summary indicating the most suitable product that matches the requirements, would be the ideal output from the tool.

I am sure by the time final release of WayFerry hits the market it will be able to deliver automatic product ratings. Till then the enterprises can reap the benefits of the beta release of the tool and come up with effective software evaluations in reduced time.

Image Source : [lecorpio.com]

Ritu Saxena

Ritu Saxena

Ritu is the technical brain behind the website and comes from a strong development background across Web and Mobile platforms. She is our senior editor primarily responsible for Product Reviews and in future will be leading Start-Ups, Mobile and Quality areas.

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