Buyers Kit – How to use reference calls in your tool decision?

Do reference calls really work?

This is the last in a three (3) part series discussing a Buyer’s Guide to help select the right Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) tool for your organization.

Enterprise Architects have a wide range of stakeholders needs to satisfy in selecting an Enterprise Architecture Management tool (EAMS).  Stakeholders are unsure whether a tool will address their specific challenges.

In the first post we reviewed sample use cases to accelerate discussions with stakeholders to help define their requirements and express the value to be realized. In the second post we provided a list of critical questions every EAMS demonstration needs to address.

Reference Checks

Reference checks do work and they are a fundamental part of selecting the right Enterprise Architecture Management tool. Don’t assign this activity out; you know what the tool must do to justify its value to merit the investment.

The reference check helps you to speak with peers who use the tool, enables you to go beyond the sales pitch, and to reveal the true nature of the tool and vendor. Use this list of valuable questions to help gain the best insights and quickly ascertain if the tool is right for you.

  1. Were you the decision maker responsible for purchasing the tool? If so, what made you choose the tool?
  2. Are you the primary user of the EA Tool? If not, ask if you may speak with that person as well.
  3. How long did it take you to populate the tool repository? Do basic functions like editing data or generating a report?
  4. What other stakeholders use the tool? How long did it take them to learn to add and edit data or generate reports and visualizations?
  5. How long was the adoption process (the tool implementation) at your organization?
  6. What’s the single best thing about the tool? What is the worst thing?
  7. How complete is the integration with other systems? How hard was it to set up and maintain?
  8. Have you seen an increase in EA awareness since you implemented the tool?
  9. Can you tell me about your experience with the vendor, implementation and support?
  10. When implementing, did you incur any costs in addition to the price of the tool?
  11. If you went to another company, would you purchase this tool again?

This last post of a 3-part Buyers Kit focused on the importance of reference checks. We hope this Buyers Kit helps you to select the best tool for your Enterprise Architecture organization.

Send your comments and suggestions to Jean Gehring or comment below.

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