- What are you trying to accomplish with the automation tool? Get specific, break down your goals, and make sure the tool you're considering for purchase can handle your needs.
- Who is the vendor? How stable is the company you're purchasing from?
- How old is the tool, what version number is the tool on? Is the product stable? And will it likely continue to be on the market?
- Does the tool have a major upgrade coming? Is this the right time to buy?
- What training classes or books or online forums are available for education?
- What does the ramp-up learning curve look like for you and your team?
- Does your staff have the needed technical background to make use of the tool?
- What is the cost of the automation tool? Add up the costs of learning, training and the tool itself to better understand the total price.
- Would the tool vendor be willing to provide a proof of concept of the tool? Would they use your software and demonstrate that the tool and your software work well together? (I have managed to get a proof of concept opportunity twice over the years. Once the proof went so poorly even the technical representative didn't recommend purchasing the tool for our environment.)
- Do you know anyone who has used the tool, and if so what can they tell you about working with it?
- Have you searched the Internet to see if you can find customer reactions to the tool?
- Is there a warranty period if you're not pleased with the purchase?
- Is there a free trial that you could experiment with before purchase?
- Do the competing products offer a free trial? Can you download and experiment with the final two tools in your selection and see which tool better suits your needs?
- Do you believe the value of the tool justifies the price? If you had to pay for the tool with your own money, would you?
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