What NOT to ask is “what does your product do?”.
In order to avoid buying a product that you may not be able to use or a product that will yield no tangible benefits, you need to decide in advance what your strategic and operational objectives are and, in respect of operational objectives, quantify these.
Only then, should you go on a shopping spree.
Given a set of objectives, ask the vendor to explain exactly how the product can contribute to attainment of your stated objectives.
Discount meaningless ‘. . . .saves time/saves money’ market-speak.
And, do not hesitate to ask the vendor to build for you, at the vendor’s cost, a process map that is representative of one of your programs and then give you a live demo of your process map posting forms you routinely use to manage this process.
Many BPMs accommodate process mapping, process modeling/simulation, and process improvement. The train ride usually ends with a paper process map.
Anyone who thinks a complex process that includes multiple steps, connected in complex ways, with different skilled resources needed to perform different steps can be “managed” by staring at a paper process map, needs a reality check.
And, beware of statements along the lines of ‘… easy to integrate’ – most systems are anything but easy to integrate and if you consider your processes as strategic assets, you need enterprise-wide automated resource allocation, leveling and balancing software that often is not part of BPMs.
Remember the quote . . .
“In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they are not.” Albert Einstein