You want to use the best software for your work—everyone does. Whether you're a cook or a web designer, well-made tools make your work more efficient, and more fun.
But choosing the right software isn’t easy. From price and implementation timelines to vendor stability, software compatibilities, and ease of use, you must balance many different aspects. You are picking a solution to last for more years, so it should use the modern technology with a clear development for integrating new technology over time. Every seller will give you a dozen reasons why their solution is the right one. How do you make the right choice? You start by asking the right questions.
How to choose the Right Software:
- Know your budget
- Organize your Business' Workflow
- Pick the Evaluation Team
- Create a software vendor short list
- Ask For Help
- Evaluate the Competitors
1. Analyze Your Needs
There must be an issue you’re hoping to solve, information that needs to be managed or a process you’d like to automate. You’re not looking for new software just for the sake of it. You must review your current processes and identify the gaps.
- What functionality are you missing?
- Are processes and reports taking too long?
- Is there information you need that you cannot access?
- Are you missing opportunities waiting for the right information or carrying too much risk because you can’t make decisions fast enough?
Choosing the right software isn’t about ratings and what's hot and buzzy. Instead, it’s about identifying the tools most suitable for your team, goals, and workflows. A simple option is to find out what software companies like yours are using. That feedback will be the most objective and relevant to your team, making the software most likely to do what you need.
So, ask around. See what your colleagues in other companies are using. Then, check app reviews to see if the tool really seems worthwhile, and give the trial version a solid run before settling. Doing your research upfront will help you avoid the time-sink of switching solutions down the road.
Take your time. Make sure that the app you choose addresses your specific needs and provides value over the longest period of time. And by the way, don't settle on the first app you find. Read reviews and ask for recommendations to make sure you've picked a great tool.
3. Know Your Budget
Make sure you know what your budget is, but don’t forget to look beyond the price tag. Consider the cost of the limitations in your current process. If it’s taking you too long to complete jobs or you have to turn work away, that cost might be recouped by investing in new software.
If you have three people manually entering data into spreadsheets for five days every month and your new software can eliminate that step, the time savings alone could be substantial. Evaluate the impact the software will have on your business and overall operations to correctly assess the cost of the new solution.
4. Organize your Business' Workflow
In order to find a solution that successfully solves your company’s current issues, you need to organize your business’ workflow. Think about your daily routine and make a list of all activities and information used. Make a list of all activities implemented by yourself, your colleagues and team members. It’s a surefire way to guarantee that you have analyzed every important facet of the business.
5. Pick The Evaluation Team
These evaluators need a deep understanding of your business processes, goals and limitations, and they must have the time to attend multiple demos to compare different merchants. If someone is trying to squeeze demos into very busy days and important deadlines, they may not pay enough attention to what they are learning.
So, pick the right person, or team, to evaluate how available solutions will meet your company’s needs.
6. Create a software merchant short list
Sort the list of software merchants that provide the software you need. Send them your requirements and make sure they understand all the nuances of the project. Ask for a demonstration of how their solution addresses all your requirements. Make sure to carefully note how each solution fits your needs. Request more than one demo if necessary. You want to be certain the solution you choose will solve your most urgent needs.
7. Ask for Help
When you're getting started with a new app, you're bound to have questions and concerns. So, ask. Just like your company, the software developers who make the tools you use want their products to work well for you.
Don’t hesitate to suggest new features, either. A software company won’t always be able to accommodate requests.
8. Evaluate the Competitors
Once you have refined your list to two or three top competitors, carefully compare your options. Check references. Do they have customer references from companies like yours using the software? Check for both long-term users and new customers, so you can get a sense of how they treat customers at all stages of the relationship.
Choosing the right software solution may seem daunting, but if you take it step by step, and carefully evaluate your options, you will find the best solution for your business.