What You Should Do

By Larry Barrett  |  Posted 2002-04-15 Print this article Print

Since drug distributor McKesson bought software supplier HBO & Co., its hospital customers have suffered. Computers crashed. Patient records went haywire. They're only now recovering.

After the Merger

What you should do when software suppliers merge:

  1. Avoid vendors that are in the process or rumored to be in the process of being acquired, unless you have a solid relationship with the acquiring company
  2. Talk with and visit other customers who have used the new company's software, and get experienced evaluations of the product and the company.
  3. Thoroughly vet the software—before you sign a contract
  4. Before you sign up, make sure you get a detailed project plan and a top-notch project manager. Make sure that manager is going to be around until the product goes live
  5. In the contract, establish financial penalties if new functions you need aren't delivered by agreed-on dates
  6. Establish metrics going in for measuring progress of all phases of the project; write targets for them into the contract

Senior Writer
Larry, of San Carlos, Calif., was a senior writer and editor at CNet, writing analysis, breaking news and opinion stories. He was technology reporter at the San Jose Business Journal from 1996-1997. He graduated with a B.A. from San Jose State University where he was also executive editor of the daily student newspaper.

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