Using the right software can mean the difference between your company haemorrhaging money and making a healthy profit.
If you need tips and tricks on just how to choose the right software for your business, read this simple and easy guide. You could just end up saving your company a ton of money and yourself a headache!
Know and Understand Your Software Needs
One of the biggest mistakes a business can make when evaluating and choosing software is not fully appreciating its software needs. This can happen when a non-technical person is responsible for the budget and vendor selection.
There is never a time for complacency and ignorance when you’re in business. If your company is lacking the right expertise for software selection, engage a consultant or consultancy to assist you. Plus use a business analyst to bridge the gap between technology and the business so the right questions are answered. For example:
- Are there any processes that could be made more quick and efficient by software and end up saving your employees time and your business money?
- Are there ways that you could use software to increase productivity and, in turn, profits?
Take the time upfront to determine your software needs so that you don’t waste a significant amount of time fixing your wrong software choices on the back end. For example, do you need a video communications system to support a company with remote employees? If you need software to hold online video meetings with employees who live across the country, consider using an application like Blue Jeans to support your needs.
An additional factor to consider is whether your business will outgrow the software you choose.
- Do you anticipate tripling or quadrupling your employees within the next five years?
- Will you have different needs within the next five years that will require different software?
If growth is probable, choose software that can scale as and when your business requires it. You could end up saving your business a lot of money in the long run if you choose the right software that doesn’t force your business to adapt to systems that provide a lot more than your business needs. Remember, most software as a service (SaaS) is in the cloud, and you’ll be paying a regular fee to use it.
Don’t Forget About Security
Many large businesses have made headlines recently for data breaches. Due to a lack of basic security measures, don’t fall prey to the same breaches. Instead, make sure to invest in security systems to protect your information from competitors and hackers. Plus, adhere to privacy laws on how customer data is captured, stored and used.
More data is being stored in the cloud, making it easier for hackers to access private customer information like passwords and other data. Ensure that all of the software applications you are investing in have reputations for security.
Ask the right questions to determine what kinds of security options the software you are choosing includes. For example,
- Does the software application encrypt stored data to make it more difficult for hackers to access?
- What kind of encryption is included in the software security options?
Asking these questions upfront can end up saving your company’s reputation for customer information security and, in turn, increase your profits in the long term.
Evaluate Your Software Vendors
In addition to evaluating the software itself and its security options, it is crucial to know and understand the software vendors themselves. The companies that manage your business software are just as important as the software itself when choosing suitable applications. Ask the right questions when assessing a vendor. For example, questions will include:
- Duration the software vendor has operated
- Who are the software vendor’s industry leaders?
- Client list
You may also be keen to ensure the software vendor’s values align with your business, for example, sustainability and diversity and inclusiveness. Seek to understand the company culture of any supplier so the association is rewarding and customers value it.
- What actions are being taken within their business to reduce carbon emissions, and improve sustainability?
- What are their long term goals for improving diversity and inclusion?
Plus, you need to know what’s on the horizon for the supplier. If the software company you choose anticipates acquiring a larger company, will the software you select change once the buyer takes over?
Your business is choosing the vendor as well as the software. Your suppliers are your ‘power team’, and their role is to provide the resources that promote growth, cost savings, improve reputation and so on. Do your due diligence on the software and the vendor to meet your goals which for many companies today include business process improvement, higher productivity, more profits, sustainable practices and healthy company culture.