Nowadays, there are plenty of ways out there to improve the business processes of a company. Due to the many options of software solutions on the market, each business has access to multiple tools to take advantage of the day-to-day workflow. But what are the key factors that a company should consider before moving into the software selection process?
Tips To Follow In The Software Selection Process
1. Prioritize Your Goals
The first step that will help you choose the right software according to your needs is setting and prioritizing your goals. What are you striving for next year? Is it increasing your sales, improving your business’s processes, or increasing your company’s efficiency?
Analyze Your Business Reports
Before answering the questions above you should create a business report to get to know more about your strengths and weaknesses to conclude where you should focus and what goals you should set. By collecting all the required data into a business report you will get quickly a brief overview of the company’s operations. In the business reports, you should include general recommendations for streamlining and improving your business operations.
The goals you will set may vary:
- Increase efficiency and productivity: In this case, you will need task management software or project management software.
- Decrease expenses: If your goal is to decrease your costs then an ERP or inventory management software will help in that direction.
- Improvement in customer experience and sales: Customer service software or customer management software are the ideal solutions for that goal.
Conduct a Competitor Research
It’s crucial to know what is available in the market. In other words, you have to research your competitor’s services. What are their main goals? In what specifically were they focusing during this year? Do they provide different services than the ones you do? What would be a reason for a customer to select a competitor company rather than yours? By answering the above question, you will get a better idea of the goals you should choose and prioritize for the upcoming year. Additionally, these questions will help you consider expanding the services that your business provides.
2. Collect The Software Selection Criteria
The key criteria that will help you in the software selection process are:
- Functionality and ease of use of the software: What are the functionalities of the software?
- Vendor’s scalability and product viability: For how long is the product in the market? Does the vendor try to improve the product?
- Technologies offered by the solution: Does the software vendor offer customization capabilities? Does the software meet your technical needs?
- Pricing information of the product: What will be the cost of the product?
- Support and training offered by the vendor: What kind of support does the vendor provide?
- Product expertise in the industry: How long is the product in the industry?
- Implementation assistance: Does the product vendor offer implementation assistance?
3. Define a Budget
Another tip that you should follow in the software selection process is to define your budget. Since you’ve set your goals and you’ve prioritized them based on their significance and you have collected the software selection criteria, you should decide how much are you willing to spend to surpass your weaknesses. Thus, you should establish a clear budget while also considering how many problems the software will solve and how it will benefit your company. In this step, you should take into account the onboarding fees each software requires and the time you invest in order to gain familiarization with the software as well as the return back on investment.
4. Calculate the Return Back On Investment (ROI)
Does the software worth the investment? Time and costs are two of the most crucial factors in the development of your business thus you should calculate each ROI.
The formula used to calculate ROI is as follows:
ROI = (Gain of Investment) – (Cost of Investment) / (Cost of Investment)
The components of this calculation are the gain and the cost of the investment. The gain of the investment refers to the amount of money you expect to gain after implementing the software solution. In contrast, the cost of investment refers to the amount of money you spend on implementing and maintaining it.
5. Navigate an Online Marketplace for the Software Selection
After prioritizing your goals you should research more about the available options. By navigating in an online marketplace you’ll be able to learn more about the features that each software provides but also read about the user’s experience since other users can share their reviews publicly. There are several software marketplaces that you can search through such as Capterra, G2, and Software advice.
In the online marketplace, you will have the chance to explicitly compare vendors and come up with the best software solution for your business. Keep in mind that the vendor should have experience in your niche to increase the chances of a smooth transition. It is also of high importance that the vendor has to understand your business’s needs and priorities to help you achieve your goals.
In this step of the software selection process, you have to evaluate the software you chose. The key factors you should consider when evaluating the software is its cost, if it supports user needs, if it would help in the improvement of internal process and if it’s generally flexible. It is highly suggested to request the vendor for a demonstration or documentation that addresses how the software meets your business needs.
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To Sum Up
The software selection process is of vital meaning to a business. It includes multiple steps that require time, dedication, and effort to result in the selection of the appropriate software. By following the steps above you will increase your chances of selecting the right software that will help you achieve your goals for next year!
Stamatia Manolara is a Digital Marketer and Content Creator for Megaventory. Her passion is staying up to date with the latest digital marketing technologies as well as upgrading her skills and developing new ones.