The right software can help improve your business, making it easier to run while analyzing sales, managing cash flow and boosting efficiency. But the wrong program can have the opposite effect, possibly throwing your financial records into chaos which will cost you both money and time to recover from.
With countless products out there in all sorts of different technologies and configurations, here’s how to find the right program whether you’re looking for print shop software or contract software for any other business.
Pinpoint the Problems You Need to Solve
Before buying, the first thing you should do is figure out which problems need to be solved. Identifying the issues will help narrow down your software options. For example, do you need to improve communication with your customers? Do you need your employees to collaborate faster on projects?
If you aren’t sure, have a team meeting to pinpoint the current issues your business is dealing with, looking at the underlying problem rather than the symptoms. Talk about the current software you’re using and any problems employees have with it. You might want to go behind your company, asking others in your industry if they’re experiencing similar problems.
Set a Budget
You’ll need to know how much you can spend before you start looking at various software programs as well as what recurring costs might be. The average cost of a business intelligence software license, for example, is $3,000, with prices ranging from $600 a year on the low end to $6,000 a year at the top.
Once you know what your needs are and what your budget is, you’ll be able to eliminate many products quickly based on the price tag and/or lack of features. Do some comparison shopping by reviewing sites that include pricing information and allow you to search by platform or features so that you can easily narrow down your potential list. Ideally, choose four to five that seem to be a good fit based on the depth of the product line, support provided, and that it supports your type or size of business. The platform should have a broad base of users, like Visual Basic or Microsoft Access, so that it will be easier to find resources later.
Selecting Your Pick
After what’s likely to have been an extensive amount of research, it’s time to make your final selection. To be sure you choose the best possible software for your business, one of the most important questions you should ask is whether or not you trust the company with your business. It’s important to read through user reviews from each vendor’s clients that have needs similar to yours. Create a list of questions to ask potential vendors based on concerns that may have come up after reading those reviews. Contact those vendors to ask as many questions as possible, and schedule demos. Determine service levels and final pricing as well as what onboarding and training will be like.
Once these checks are completed, talk to others on your team, sharing your findings that will let everyone know how you made your final choice to ensure everyone shares the same level of confidence you have.