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Whether you are the owner of a fledgling business who is looking to streamline its operations, or whether you are looking for a new software solution due to your business having outgrown its previous one, investing in software is not something to take lightly.
Finding the right solution could mean the difference between failure and success, and with so many options out there to choose from, it can be relatively easy to go wrong.
Here is a buyer’s guide to making the best possible choice and watching your business sky-rocket as a result.
Look for software that has been tailored to your industry
There are many different selections to choose from when it comes to general business software, especially for smaller businesses. However, this type of software will almost always have gaps in its functionality that will lead to ‘weak spots’ in the way in which your organization is run. You will almost certainly have better luck and more success by selecting a software solution that has been specifically tailored to the needs of companies within your industry. For example, companies focused on conducting home inspections should look for home inspection software, while restaurant owners should seek out software that aids in streamlining the serving cycle.
However, simply finding a software solution tailored to your industry is not enough, as not all software solutions have been created equal. There are various other factors to consider, many of which are highlighted below.
Make it a joint effort
While you, as the business owner, will have the final say when it comes to investing in a solution, it is imperative that you consult the rest of the stakeholders and teams within your organization. You should:
Consult with your employees
: Find out what operational issues your teams are currently experiencing and what changes they think will add value to their processes. Find out exactly how they are currently operating and think carefully about how software could help to improve this. Consulting with your employees is of the utmost importance as they will be the ones making use of the software.
Consult with your security team
: They will need to advise you in terms of whether a potential software solution adheres to the company’s security standards.
Consult with your tech team
: Your tech team will know more about various specs and functionality than you will, so they will be able to determine the value of each potential solution, as well as whether or not it will be practical to integrate it with your company’s tech tools.
Know what you are looking for
Before even embarking upon a search for new software, gather every person involved in your business and have discussions around your current software. Enquire as to what everyone likes and dislikes about the software. Find out what kind of improvements they would like to see going forward and how they think these improvements can be successfully implemented. By the end of this discussion, you will have a good idea of what problems the new software solution should be able to solve, and what key functionalities you need to keep firmly in place.
Know where to look
Obviously, you will be able to find software providers by doing a general search on Google – but is this the right way to be going about it? Probably not. Instead, consider seeking out software options on various software comparison websites, such as Software Advice and Capterra. If at all possible, you should also do some research into what type and brand of software your competitors are utilizing.
Test it out first
Even if it seems to tick all of the boxes, it is essential that you put a new software solution to the test before signing on the dotted line. Any software development company worth its salt will allow you access to a free trial or demo lasting a minimum of 30 days (although 60 is preferable). As a result, you will be able to ascertain whether or not the software fits in as you had hoped and makes the improvements that you are aiming for. If not, you can opt to continue your search with a much clearer idea of the functionality that you require. If all goes well, on the other hand, you will know that you have found a winner and will feel confident making the investment.
While finding the right software to suit your business can be a lengthy process, it is well worth it when you find ‘the one’ and start reaping the rewards of your labor!