The Road to buying software is tough to navigate, and it’s easy to get lost along the way. With tens of thousands of business software programs available, how do you know which direction to go? Emerging Alliance has mapped out a guide to finding the best software for your organization. Happy travels!
1. RECOGNIZE THE NEED FOR SOFTWARE:
- Identify an opportunity for growth that can only be made possible by software.
- Identify a tedious, cumbersome process that can be automated through software.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF:
- Read about how other companies like yours use software to address similar issues.
- Understand the software costs, such as licensing support, implementation and training.
- Research all the features available and how they can benefit you.
- Learn about common pitfalls.
* Vendor websites, industry websites, online forums, tradeshows, customer interviews and case studies.
* Much of your reading materials will be biased, often written by the vendors themselves. This isn’t necessarily bad since the vendors are the experts, but it’s worth recognizing.
3. DETERMINE YOUR GOALS:
- Write down your requirements. Distinguish between must-haves and nice-to haves.
- Articulate your expected benefits. How will software save your company time and money? How will it help generate additional revenue?
- Develop an initial budget based on the benefits and what you learned about software costs from your initial research.
- Create a list of criteria by which you will grade each vendor.
- Get buy-ins from future software users, executive and tech teams.
4. IDENTIFY POTENTIAL VENDORS:
- Create long list: This should be as comprehensive as possible; there will likely be dozens of potential vendors.
- Schedule demos: A better look at your short list solutions with online demos, which usually last 30-90 minutes.
- Narrow to short list: Based on your criteria, break your list down to 3-6 vendors.
- Include end-users in the demos. If your users don’t enjoy using the software, they won’t use it.
5. EVALUATE THE VENDORS:
- Take excellent notes. How the salesperson treats you is a great indicator for how they treat customers.
- Ask about integration with other software products and ask about training.
- Request references from companies that are similar to yours. But also find your own additional references!
6. CHOOSE YOUR VENDORS:
- Receive Quotes
- Pick One
- Thank the Others
7. IMPLEMENT THE SOFTWARE:
- Schedule training
- Make necessary changes to business processes
- Perform data migration and integration
- Schedule periodic reviews to measure usage and benefits.