Finding the right piece of software for your business is often more difficult than you may have thought. There are countless options out there and to choose the one you’ll need to know a bit about the software itself.
Here, we offer a list of questions you can ask yourself before buying a piece of software. These will help you determine what your needs are and how to be sure that the software meets them. Once you go through the process it’s still a good idea to test the software first.
What’s the Software for?
The first question to ask yourself is what the software you plan to use will be used for. It seems like a straightforward enough question but for the most part, it’s more complicated to get to the bottom of it than you might think.
A lot of software solutions offer a broad range of services made to fit the needs of different-sized businesses. Asking yourself what service you actually need can help you narrow things down. It can also be a useful way to save and only get the services you’ll have a use for.
What do the Others Say?
Online reviews and comparisons can be a useful tool to help you get a better idea of what a piece of software is actually like when it’s used. Numerous sites offer that service and you can check this out to see a good comparison between popular software solutions.
This isn’t to say that what others have said will always apply to you. There are cases when it won’t and it’s perfectly fine not to just the best rates software solution. However, having the options laid out for you makes a big difference.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
As is the case with most other purchases, buying a piece of software depends on how much you’re able and willing to spend. Make sure to set up a budget and stick to it once you do. This makes the actual choice that much easier.
Keep in mind that you’re never rich enough to buy cheap. If you choose a piece of software that seems to be too cheap, chances are that something is wrong with it and you may end up paying more later in order to fix the problem.
Who Will Use the Program?
It’s important to take into account who the end-user is. It’s the employees that use the software and sometimes a small section of them (such as accountants or HR professionals) uses it more than the others. Their opinion about the software is, therefore, more important than the opinion of others.
Ask the employees what they think about the software you’re currently using and what can make it more functional or easier to use. This will nudge you in the right direction when choosing a new one if not decide the thing for you, altogether.
What If Something Goes Wrong?
Things can go wrong with software solutions, even if you choose a good and reputable program. When this happens, you want to have tools at your disposal to fix the issue. Software should have a customer support policy and a customer support system you can rely on.
The least you can ask for is for the software to offer 24/7 customer service and a few channels of communication you can open with the support team. That way you can address the issue as soon as you are aware of it and fix it just as quickly.
How Does the Software Fit with your Ecosystem?
Chances are you’re not starting your workflow from the ground up and that you already have an ecosystem of software you’re using. This starts with the operating system on which your software is based but it also goes beyond that. A piece of software you’re trying to purchase needs to fit within it.
If the software isn’t compatible with the rest of your ecosystem it makes no sense to buy it, regardless of how well it suits your needs. That’s why building an ecosystem of software solutions is so important and needs to be done with planning in mind.
What if My Business Expands?
Businesses change and grow over time and after a while, you may need more employees, more revenue, and more complex software solutions. This is something to keep in mind when choosing a piece of software. It needs to fulfill your needs even when the company grows.
For the most part, software solutions have multi-tier payment systems and you can upgrade to a more expensive tier once you require more services and options. That way you can keep using the software you’re used to and get more out of it.
What to Do if You Change Your Mind?
It’s perfectly fine to change your mind, after some research and a trial run. It’s important, however, to have a plan as to what to do when that happens. That’s why it may be a good idea not to go into long-term subscription plans before you’re absolutely certain you want to continue using a piece of software.
Make sure you inquire and learn about the cancelation policy a software has to offer. That way you’ll have a backup plan in case something goes wrong and you want to start the search from scratch.
Do I Need a New Tool?
In the end, you should consider whether you need a new software tool, at all. If you need a problem that needs solving a software solution can do it for you, the only thing to do is to get that software. However, in a lot of cases, the tools you’re already using can do the job for you, together with implementing some sort of new system.
Too much of a complicated workflow can lower your productivity and make the business less organized overall. Keep your options open and decide on expanding your toolbox only when it’s necessary to do so.