re you planning to buy a support management software tool or project management suite for your business? The success of your business model, its specific needs and intended goals for your company – a lot depends upon one big decision. That is to say, choosing the right software tools, solutions can become a real game-changer for your business! Selecting the right software tools can be overwhelming. But, without a specific game plan to select which software package will work the best for your business needs, you will wind up with the wrong solution. Indeed, the software market is diverse and complex. While you cannot afford costly mistakes for your organization, you must weigh all the pros and cons and available information before selecting the best software stack.
Deciding factors while choosing the right software solution
While there are several factors, recurring problems, and questions that may arise when it comes to implementing business management software solutions. Therefore, it is ideal for you to start with mapping out the business workflow that includes current problems and common issues and then chart out possible software solutions. In order to make your task easier, take a look at these 10 checkpoints to consider before choosing the right software stack to get the job done:
1. Define your business problem
First, ask yourself these questions to get the bigger picture:
- What is the business goal?
- What are the reasons for selecting software tools?
- Are there any business issues that I am facing currently?
- Will this software solution resolve the current issue?
Just because you have started a business, you are not looking for a software stack simply. You must have encountered certain problems for which you would like the software to solve for your business. In the first place, figure out the problems and the requirements before you negotiate with the software vendors. In other words, make a list of features “nice-to-have” and “must-have” and make sure they are aligned to your business needs.
2. Define your software needs
While approaching a software solution, you might probably find thousands of software tools loaded with their features, functionality and user experience. Remember. Not one-size-fits-all. In the first place, you need to figure out the software requirements and the scale of business operations in favor of digital tools. Additionally, you need to list out the software tools that seem to be the best fit for your business goals. Also, reconsider your priorities based on your team needs and feedback. This will help you select the best possible fit that delivers quick results helping you do more with less and in less time!
3. Compile a list of software tools
Are you yet to compile a list of software applications and tools that matches your business goals? Since you need to select the best software stack that works for your business, look for the software solutions that fulfil your expectations and maximizes business productivity. List out as many as you can that you feel serves the business need. Truly, in the software market, you will find a vast range of tools and solutions. While some are compatible with your business issues, others are meant for optimizing and managing business operations. However, considering the fast-paced digitally connected world, look for digital tools and software that can perform almost all kinds of business operations.
4. Determine your budget for the software tools
So how much can you afford to spend on your software tool? Generally speaking, it is ideal to establish a budget in the beginning to avoid costs spinning out of control. In fact, plan well ahead for the first-year implementation, support, and recurring costs. Also, consider the cost if you need any extensive customization or a general accounting application depending on the platform you will use. Moreover, make sure that you don’t miss out on onboarding fees, implementation, training costs and time required to adapt to new software while calculating the software package budget.
5. Plan product enhancements for software package
While most software packages offered by the software vendors provide features that meet business needs, it’s crucial to identify the solution that addresses the core problem. Watch out if you are buying solutions for “just in case scenarios” that will simply waste your time, money and resources. Instead, refine your requirements and plan for product enhancements and upgrades only if it reduces costs while increasing your business revenues.
6. Ask for a demo of software tool
Obviously, by now, you must be having a long list of companies to contact. Once you have the software vendor list in hand, ask for a free trial. As a matter of fact, demos are an excellent way to build a knowledge base and find answers that fit your business. Based on that, you can choose whether or not to move forward with the buying process. Also, this is your chance to evaluate inside out based on these top tips:
- Check for the features you want to see
- Decide who should attend (e.g., stakeholders) and make sure that they are available
- Keep your questions ready that you want to ask
7. Get feedback internally from team members
The best resource to lead you to good decision-making and software implementation process is your internal team. Check with your team members who have used the software about the limitations of the software, the time frame it takes to accomplish a task, productivity rates or any inefficiencies within the current package. This will help you figure out the features that you should look for in future potential packages. Alternatively, it will also guide you in future buy-ins.
8. Evaluate your software vendor
So, you are done with the demo. Fantastic! By now you must have shortlisted 3-5 software vendors as your favorites. If you have more than 5 in your list, free trials won’t work for all of them. In fact, this will exhaust you more as you will not have enough time to test each piece. Eventually, you end up being more confused. Rather, take one-to-two trials at a time and plan specific workflows and test them out. Also, encourage your team members to provide honest feedback to get an accurate view of the software tool.
9. Test the software features
It’s important to realize that the use cases for each software differs based on business objectives. Think about the features that are critical for your business. A guaranteed way to ensure that your software solution doesn’t fail is to test the software features, benefits, and usability. Check if the software package meets business needs and expectations. Thereafter, you can commit to a new software solution.
10. Make a final choice
While many software vendors offer short-lived solutions for your business, don’t choose unless you are fully confident about the product. Review the information furnished by your software provider. Also, ensure that there are no gaps in the implementation stage and yet, it yields tangible benefits. Then, arrive at a final choice.
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