You won’t have to build a fire in the rain with a bear at your back when you demo abstract management software, but the Scout motto still applies: Be Prepared. A little readiness will ensure that you and everyone involved in the software decision gets the most out of your demonstration.
Here’s a list of six ways to prepare for a software demonstration:
- Discovery – Be sure to have a conversation with the company whose software you’ll be looking at to discuss your submission and review needs. You’ll want them to know as much as possible about your process so they can put together a demonstration appropriate to your conference. The more questions they ask of you now, the less generic your demonstration will be.
- Invitations – Have a clear understanding of who needs to watch the demonstration and who doesn’t. Make a list, talk to colleagues. Invite everyone who should be a part of the demonstration to attend, and schedule a time that accommodates everyone who needs to attend.
- History – Come to the demo prepared to discuss your past experiences managing submissions for your conference. If you are using or have used a software vendor(s), know what successes you’d like repeated and what challenges you’d like to overcome.
- Bottlenecks – Have a list of the frustrations you experience or are aware others experience with your current abstract management process. The list doesn’t have to be fancy; just notes for yourself to reference during the demo so you can discuss them with the prospective vendor.
- Wish List – Ask yourself and others involved with the conference what your ideal abstract management process would look like. What do you wish your process did?
- Supporting Documents – Have your abstract management process documents available during the demo. Screenshots of your current abstract collection website can be very helpful.
Informing yourself in advance of your scheduled demo, gathering the right people into the room, and bringing artifacts from your current system all go a long way to ensure you’ll get the most out of your demo.
Richard Stimac, Director of Business Development at Mira, suggests one more bit of preparation: Check out the website of the abstract management software company offering the demo. As a prospective client, you’ll learn a lot, he says. “We are certain that you will expand your expectations of what an abstract management solution company should offer.”
Photo by Stuart Miles, courtesy of freedigitalimages.net