Firstly, do you really need new software or are you failing to make the most of the software you already have? Often it becomes apparent that software isn’t being used to its full potential and it’s simply the case that additional staff training is required.
But, there are plenty of occasions when new software is required, and no amount of staff training will solve the problem.
Do you go for the best sales pitch / cheapest cost / most well-known / most complex / simplest / best support / best aligned with your other software / off-the-shelf / custom built?
With so many decisions to make it’s vital that you decide exactly what you need the software to do for your organisation in the first instance. Also, consider budget, who will be maintaining the software, who will be using it and how it will integrate with other systems.
Purchasing custom software could seem an attractive option as you’ll get exactly what you need, but in reality this option could prove more cumbersome than promised. Costs of bespoke software can spiral, and each new feature could take a huge amount of time to complete.
Off-the-shelf software may be viewed as a compromise, but in reality you’ll be getting software that has been tried, tested and refined. Yes, you may need to bend a little to meet the software, but chances are you’ll be getting a better product at a better cost, in a quicker timeframe.
If you’re replacing software keep in mind that there may be staff resistance. As we can all appreciate, change is not always easy, even when it’s for the best. Consult with your staff about what they need, how they use software and keep them informed of your decision. If major changes are to be undertaken, consider a thorough internal communications plan alongside training. Show staff why the software will benefit them in the long run but demonstrate empathy towards feelings of trepidation.
Will you be using your software around a Single Database? Keeping your data clean and in one repository can steamline processes, improve efficiency and provide a great customer experience. It’s been shown that organisations with integrated systems are better able to calculate ROI, making accurate business planning easier.
Would you prefer to use ‘best of breed’ software throughout your business? Whilst these systems may not integrate so well, you’ll know that staff are using the best software there is to do their particular task.
Yes, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing new software, but by carefully evaluating what you need now and in the future, you’ll be best placed to make an educated decision.
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