Picking the right piece of software for your business is a process and it’s important to approach it carefully and intentionally. A software tool can help your business for years to come and if chosen correctly, it can save a lot of time and labor and therefore money.
There are a few steps that you should take in order to establish this process and find the best software solution for you. These apply to businesses and software solutions of all kinds.
What’s the Purpose of The Software?
The first and most important step is to know what you plan to use the software for. It may seem like a simple question to answer but when you go into the weeds, things get a bit more complicated. Almost all software solutions have more than one feature and you need to choose what’s the most important thing you want to be done with this tool.
By knowing exactly what you want to accomplish with the software, you’ll have an easier time selecting the right tool and eliminating the options that can’t perform in the way you’ve planned.
Give Yourself Options
It’s best to give yourself a few options to choose from since many of these software solutions are similar to each other. There are sites out there that compare software solutions and you can use them to come up with a shortlist of options.
These are the software tools that you should then test in a real-life environment. That way you get to know how the software actually works when it’s used by your employees and when it meets your real-life needs. That’s a much better way to make a call rather than relying on reviews alone.
How Easy it is to Train the Employees?
Chances are that you’ll need to train the employees to use the software during the onboarding process. That can take up a lot of your time and resources and it’s important to choose the software that’s easy to learn and implement.
If the employees need supervision while learning the ropes with a new piece of software, you may want to set up a mentorship program. That way the more experienced employees can help train their new counterparts. It’s also an important tool for creating a team spirit within the company.
How It Fits With the Rest of Your Tools?
A business usually isn’t starting from scratch and most companies already have a set of tools that they use. Sometimes, those are the tools the founders have on their personal computers, and sometimes, it starts with a few software solutions that are free and widely available.
This means that you need to make sure the new software solution you’re trying to purchase fits with the tools that you already have. It will make the day-to-day workflow of your business smoother and more manageable.
Should You Purchase or Subscribe?
Some software solutions are purchased with a single charge while others work based on a subscription that’s paid monthly. That’s something you need to be aware of as a business owner, but also as a user. Software companies that have a subscription-based system usually have a large team behind their app and offer a lot of different updates and additional services.
When it comes to buying a piece of software, you get a sense of ownership and you’re not dependent on the company working beyond your control. The operation behind such software is usually smaller and less ambitious.
A Customer Support System in Case Something Goes Wrong
It’s essential for a business to plan for things to go wrong since they so often do. That’s why you need to focus on software solutions that have a customer support system for troubleshooting when something goes wrong. That support system needs to include the ability to communicate with the team if your internet goes down or if the tool isn’t operational.
It’s also important for the customer support team to be professional, supportive, and easy to work with during such a stressful event. It may be a service you only use once in a while, but when you do, you want it to work.
The Testing Stage
Once you’ve made a list of software tools you could see yourself using, it’s a good idea to set up the testing stage and actually use them for a while. This is where the input coming from your employees will be so valuable. They are the ones that will have first-hand experience with the software and use it every day.
It’s best if the reviews made by the employees are substantive and focus on actual issues that may have come up during the testing phase. Try to avoid ranking or providing positive or negative verdicts only.
A Chance to Expand
The needs of your business will probably change and most likely expand over time. That’s something to plan for when choosing a piece of software for it. Many companies hesitate to do so and only purchase the software that will suit their needs right away, to save where they can.
The best course of action is to buy a piece of software that’s a bit more complex than you actually need at the moment. It will pay off when the company grows since it will make the transition process that much easier.
You Have The Right To Change Your Mind
A lot of the time, even if you go through all of these steps, you’ll end up changing your mind about a piece of software. When this happens, all that you can do is start the process from the ground up and look for an alternative solution.
There’s nothing wrong with doing so and you shouldn’t see it as a setback. Choosing a piece of software is an important call to make and you need to make sure that you’ve chosen what’s best for your business in the long run. If it takes a few iterations to do so – it’s not a waste of time.