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Why & How We Choose New Software
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It is true, as humans, we generally do not like change. I was recently asked about the process that must take place in order for a company to consider moving to a new (or another) software and I wanted to share some insights that I discovered while answering this question.
In order for a business to change the way they are currently working, a few things have to happen.
1. The company is currently processing things manually and as they begin to grow, the system is antiqued.
2. It is also possible that the company is looking for something that will do more or be a better way of doing the task.
3. Perhaps the company is hiring new personnel and need an updated or expanded system that can handle more staff.
4. One final thought is that they may simply be outgrowing the current system and/or are frustrated with the current way they are doing it.
Many of these reasons are good reasons for a company to change their system. Growth and hiring new employees are always a good sign for a business. It forces the company out of their comfort zone, into an area of change or they will not continue to grow, or possibly even exist if they cannot adapt to the new solution. Companies do not often seek out new systems until a valid reason becomes apparent, then they will change. Remember, however, change can hurt and it stretches most people. Most companies are just keeping up and trying to plan for growth.
Why do you implement change?
What causes you to make a change in software?
How To Choose?
So, how does a company decide which software to use? I am only a small company, but I think most small to mid-size businesses would agree that we go through a process. Some professionals will make lists and do pros and cons and create columns to visually see each choice, others will simply do this as a checklist in their mind.
Resource #1 - Colleagues:
One of the first things we often do is call or email a colleague who we know has already been through a similar process and ask for their suggestions. In developing a list of options, whether mentally, in a computer document, or on paper, we may even search online to discover some of the solutions. In their article on wikihow.com, using an accounting software change as an example, they say: "you should be able to quickly eliminate many products based on a lack of features or too high of a price tag. There are many sites listing available accounting software packages and allowing you to search by features or platform."
Resource #2 - Experts:
Another option that I would possibly take is to speak with an expert in that field. In other words, if I need a new accounting system to function well and integrate into our current systems, I would speak with my Accountant and ask for suggestions. If I want a project management software for my industry, I will and, in fact, have asked colleagues in an online group, for their suggestions. Now going to a community or group and asking 500+ professionals for opinions, can present more problems than answers. You should already know whose answers you can trust,.otherwise you may become overwhelmed and confused by the shear number of responses you can get. So be prepared to sift through and only pull out those who have proven to be a trustworthy resource.
Resource #3 - Online:
This goes without saying, but we all search online today. Most companies will and should do a thorough online search, researching the type of software needed. In doing so, they will often find out information that is unexpected and can help with decision. Often this will reveal reviews, top rated software and more.
After going through the options, you should be able to pair it down to just 2 or 3 top software programs that interest you. At this point, I suggest that you visit their websites (if you have not already), see testimonials and eliminate at least one from the list. Now, you should be down to 1 or 2 possibilities, so take a tour of the site, even sign up for a free trial for a week to see how you like it. I would not recommend trying it for more than 2 weeks, as one to two weeks should you give you the opportunity to use a standard number of functions that you are likely to perform using the software, should you choose it. The trial period should also give you a feel as to whether it is going to work for your business or not. More than 2 weeks trial, you are are already putting too much information into the software and if you do not like, you will need to retrieve the information. By one to two weeks of a trial, you should be able to make your final decision.
I am actually in the middle of 'trail period' right now and am 'test driving' a program. I have looked for a project management system that would work for me and the way I work. I know there are plenty of them out there, but for whatever reason, I could not seem to find one that I really liked. I am hopeful my current 'trial period' will end with my signing up for years to come!. So far my only objection is that it is not free. Oh well, you can't get it all.
Article on Wikihow
- How to Choose Business Software: 10 Steps (with Pictures)
How to Choose Business Software. Software is supposed to make it easier to run your business, but too often it is a source of frustration and expense. The proper program will help you manage cash flow, analyze sales and improve efficiency...
Solving the Problem
The Final Choice:
Businesses need to see that the new software will:
1. Benefit all who will need to work with it.
2. Integrate well with other programs currently in their system.
3. Be cost effective.
4. Have all of the features their business needs.
5. Solve the overall problem.
6. Be able to be used for years into the future.
In the end, those making the decisions, whether the Owner, CEO, or Department Head, must believe the new program will transition smoothly and solve the overall problem. Not every transition will be completely smooth and there may be bumps along the way, however, most software should have overcome the 'bumps' before they reach the marketplace. After any minor 'bugs' are worked out and all programs are running smoothly, we can celebrate that another milestone has been hit by the company. Until the next 'big thing' or 'growth spurt', we can settle back with a deep breath of confidence, knowing we have done our job well and decided on the right program for our company. After all, that is really all that we want right? We want everything to run smoothly and to know that we can continue doing business today, tomorrow and hopefully for a long future.
A couple of warnings,
- "Avoid companies that don't have at least 5 years of experience working with customers. If they can't point to a history of working with the type of software you're shopping for, they probably don't have the experience to help you." says wikihow.com
- Check out reviews and testimonials to be sure the company has a good rating. Just remember one bad review does not indicate that you should not sign on. There are people who live just to do bad reviews, just as long as the good one's far outweigh the bad, you will probably be ok.
How do you choose?
So, how do you choose new software? Let us know how you make your choice, we would love to hear.
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© 2015 Tammy