Every business wants to have the X-factor – that unique trait that makes their competitors look like they have brought a knife to a gunfight. While there are several factors that make a business stand out, your defining characteristic will be based ultimately on your deliverables.
How reliable are you in your industry? What is the quality of your product? Are you efficient? The questions are endless.
More often than not, your ability to answer those questions in a positive light is directly linked to the caliber of software you employ. The rank and file of your business, from marketing to administration, depends on the kind of tools and applications you employ.
Survival of the Most Technological
In this digital age, businesses are in a fight for their lives. It isn’t surprising that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% fail in their second year, and 50% fail after five years in business. One of the underlying reasons for such failure is their inability to adapt to the needs of a fast-paced digital world.
Additionally, technology allows small business to level the playing field with the giants in the industry by employing an array of technological solutions – from servers to cloud computing. Just as software cannot function outside of hardware, a hardware solution without appropriate software is useless. Using software for your business can accrue the following benefits for you:
- It lowers operating costs and reduces, if not totally removes, the expenses on manual work.
- It spikes productivity and improves efficiency at all levels of the business.
- It allows for effective communication and collaboration.
- It allows a business to expand to other markets.
- It allows for automation and remote working.
Wrong Software? It’s Better to Have No Software
Conversely, the wrong software comes with lots of detriments. In fact, it has been said that having no software is better than having the wrong software. This is because the negative effects of using wrong software can often be unredeemable.
Imagine a scenario for a company where as the business grows, the number of customers increases, and there needs to be some kind of customer relation management. The company takes on email management software that is able to automate and customize messages to clients.
Unfortunately, the software is riddled with errors. It sends messages when it is not time and even sends the wrong messages. End users of this software, which in this case are the clients, would surely be frustrated with messages from the software.
Before long, customers will unsubscribe to alerts and promos from that company to save them a barrage of conflicting messages. In this situation, the company’s reputation will take a hit and soon enough the woes of the software will be reflected in the company’s revenue. That’s a situation you wouldn’t want your company to be in. So, you cannot afford to leave your software tooling options to chance.
Key Factors in Purchasing Software
Now, let’s take a look at key factors to consider when purchasing software for your business.
Understand Your Needs
You are only ready to start talking about new software or upgrade when you understand your needs. Businesses differ by function and needs, and that is why software solutions differ from business to business. For instance, the software needs of a restaurant will definitely be different from the software needs of a tech startup.
Your software needs should be in tandem with your overall IT strategy. Software purchases should not be made as a knee-jerk reaction or an afterthought.
As a company, your IT strategy should spell out the software needs clearly – both short-term and long term. It should align with the overarching business goals. Create a list of must-haves and all the features you’ll require for your software.
No software is a silver bullet. Any tooling purchase you make will only be to shore up and improve your company’s workflow. Don’t purchase software that will only overburden and bring chaos into your organization.
Dot Your I and Cross Your T
So, you’re ready to make your software purchase. You have a firm grasp of your needs but that is not enough to make a decision. You have to begin with research – not just any kind of research but meticulous and in-depth research.
A good way to conduct research is to look at the tooling options that companies in your niche industry with a purpose and size similar to yours are using. That is a good place to start. Then, check app reviews and ratings. Reviews by trusted agencies can give you a fair idea of the worthiness of the tooling options you are considering.
For instance, no company should do without application monitoring software because it can ensure applications are always performing at an optimum level. Application monitoring tools reviews can help ensure you have a bird’s eye view of your options before settling on one. If the software option you are considering provides trials, it will be a good idea to take a trial first just to see how compatible it is with your company’s needs.
Also, do not hesitate to engage companies who are experts and specialists in the industry to recommend software options that will inure to your company’s benefit.
Over 40% of companies indicate that money is the primary factor in their choice of software. While new software options may seem to be expensive, once you make the right choice of software you are guaranteed savings in the long run. Being shrewd is great for business, and buying quality is the best way to be shrewd.
As Benjamin Markoff says “You get what you pay for most of the time. If you buy something terrible in order to pay less, it’ll just make more work for you down the road. Time is money, so don’t only take the price into consideration. When you scale, you’ll end up switching to the better product anyway. I’d rather pay as much money as I need for something that helps you grow, rather than waste money on a placeholder.”
So, don’t let money determine what software option you go for, rather invest in the future.
Communicate and Collaborate
Finally, you must ensure that all the teams who would be using this software are in the loop. Listen and consider their views and insights as well as their recommendations. This will ensure your software choice does not become a lightning rod for chaos amongst various teams.
If you’re looking to run a business that wins, then you cannot do without software for your business – especially in this high-speed digital age. But there are a number of key factors that you should consider in choosing software for your business. Such factors include a clear understanding of your business needs, research, and communication.