It’s not easy to find and select a piece of software that will suit the needs of your business. That’s an important call that will affect the company for a long time. That’s why it’s useful to create a checklist of features that software needs to provide and use it to make your call.
That way you can easily compare different options in terms of how well they cover the expectations set on your list. Chances are you’ll end up with a few options and decide during a trial period.
Start with A Budget
As is the case with any other decision a business needs to make, you should start with a budget. It’s best if the budget isn’t set in stone, it’s much easier to work with a bracket that you need to fit into.
In most cases, a single piece of software can come with a range of prices based on the tier of service that you choose. It’s also a useful feature if you plan to expand or downscale the scope of your business and the tools that it uses.
What Problem Are You Trying to Solve?
The software is a tool made to solve a problem. That can be a simple solution that’s made to do a particular thing or it can be a complex set of tools that can be used for a variety of different tasks.
Sometimes, it’s best to buy only what you need and not break the bank in the process. In other cases, however, a better, more complex tool may suit your needs better since it allows you to do all the work using only one tool. It also makes collaboration within your team easier.
Read the Reviews
Sites that provide software reviews are an essential tool for those looking to find a software solution suited to their business. These sites allow you to compare and contrast a variety of different tools and go into details about each specific feature of a particular software solution.
These sites can help you make a shortlist of software tools that you can then test and see which one works for your business in an actual working environment. The final decision is best made only after you’ve actually worked with a tool for a while.
How User Friendly the Tool Is
Onboarding employees is an expense every business needs to take into account and prepare for. If that includes training the employees to use the tools your business relies on, you’ll want to find a tool that is easy to use and easy to train on.
Some companies also offer a training program for new employees, where experienced employees train the new ones and guide them through using a tool. It’s also important to consider how a tool will be suited to that process if it will at all. Regardless of how good a tool is, it’s useless if your employees don’t know how to work with it.
Is there a Customer Support System?
Customer support is an essential part of a good software tool and it’s best to stay away from software solutions that don’t offer one. A piece of software will break or experience technical issues from time to time and it can cause your business to stop as well.
A good customer support system can be contacted at any time and via a variety of channels. It’s also useful that the staff providing support is professional and courteous especially during a stressful time, such as having a problem with an important tool you’re relying on.
Do You Own the Tool?
There are two ways to use a professional piece of software. You can buy and own it as you would a physical product. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a service that the software tool provides and pay for that subscription on a regular basis.
Both of these options have their downsides and benefits. They are an important point to consider when deciding on a tool, and if you don’t want to get tied to a particular tool for a long time, the difference between the two may be a deal-breaker.
Your Business Will Change Over Time
A business can change and grow over time, but it can also shrink and pivot to new markets. Tools that it uses need to be adjustable as well. For the most part, it’s best to plan for growth and to choose software tools that can accommodate your business as it grows.
Sometimes, this will mean you’ll buy software that offers features you don’t have a need for yet. However, it’s not a waste if you’re going to use them eventually without the need to change the solutions you’re using, as your business grows.
How the Tool Fits with Other Software Solutions You’re Using?
For the most part, businesses don’t start as a blank slate and chances are that you’re already using some software solutions. If not, you’re probably used to an operating system or your employees are. When this is the case, you need to choose a piece of software that will fit in with the ecosystem of tools you’re used to.
Businesses that already have an established ecosystem often have a narrower pool of software tools to choose from and that’s the price to pay for having an established workflow.
Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out
Even if you’ve gone through all the steps, chances are that sometimes things won’t work out and you’ll need to change the software solutions you’ve planned to use. It happens and there’s no reason to waste too much time being sorry about it. In fact, it’s something to take into account when choosing the software.
Make sure you’re aware of how easy it is to give up on a piece of software and are there any refunds are available. If it comes to this, there’s nothing wrong with getting back to square one and starting the search for the software solution once again, until you find the one for you.