If you want your business to succeed in the modern world, you need to make sure it’s equipped with all the best software tools. Software boosts your performance in a multitude of ways, enabling innovation, improving productivity, and helping you meet obligations like regulatory compliance.
But most businesses need many different types of software to keep things running, and there are countless software tools on the market, making your software selection complicated and intimidating. How can you be sure you’re choosing the right software tools for your business? And how can you choose better tools in the future?
Only Buy What You Truly Need
For starters, you should only buy software that your business truly needs. Too many business owners adopt the mindset that every software platform solves a problem or improves an aspect of business operations, so incorporating more software is always a good move. In reality, this mentality leads to bloated software stacks and excessive spending, while providing few benefits for the overall organization.
It’s much better to start with a list of company needs. So, what types of software are truly going to benefit you? Which problems are you actively trying to solve? From there, it will be much easier to determine the software platforms you genuinely need.
Always Look at Reviews
Always look at reviews before making a purchase. If you’re trying to buy business intelligence software, look at detailed reviews of business intelligence software from multiple different providers. Also, if you’re narrowing down your list of enterprise software to consider, compare and contrast the reviews and testimonials you find for your top options.
Certainly, on the surface, you can make a quick judgment about a software product based on the number and quality of reviews it has. If people have nothing but good things to say about this platform, you can take it as a good sign.
But it’s also important to look at specific points brought up in various reviews and testimonials; are there any aspects that people typically complain about? Are there any strengths that frequently come up?
Work With Reliable Providers
Always try to work with reliable providers.
- Experience. How long has this tool been around? How long has this team been working on this tool? And how much experience does the director of this company have? What about the leaders on the development team?
- Knowledge. When you talk to a salesperson, do they seem knowledgeable and familiar with your industry? Are they able to answer your questions confidently and completely?
- Integrity. Does this company seem transparent and honest? Do they take security and privacy seriously?
- Support. If you run into issues, are you confident you’ll get the support you need to resolve those issues?
Differentiate Between Comprehensive and Individual Software Tools
You might choose an enterprise software platform that offers all your needs in one package. You also might piece together all your needs from an assortment of different individual software tools. Neither of these approaches is incorrect, but each of them offers unique strengths and weaknesses. Choose your approach carefully.
Look at Specific Options For Your Users
Who will be using this software? Is it a specific target audience. For example, if your user base are veterans then don’t just sign up for the general software that is most well-known in the space. Go to a site like Veteran.com and see what information is on the site that could help you understand the best technology for veterans to use. Most of these specific sites will have advertisers, lists, or general recommendations on the best software to use for specific audiences.
Consider Building Custom Software
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the market, or if you have very specific needs, consider building custom software. This approach tends to be more expensive, and it might be months before you have a finished product, we will end up with a solution that perfectly suits your business and its operational needs.
Evaluate Usability Carefully
Most software development companies have entire departments dedicated to improving usability, but many software tools still fall short of the mark. Usability is one of the most important factors to consider, since it’s going to dictate the efficiency of your software use, the morale and attitude of your team members, and even whether you can use the platform to its fullest potential.
Make It a Group Decision
It’s a good idea to include many different people in this decision. Don’t allow employees to install and use new software regularly, and don’t purely dictate software standards from the top down. Instead, make it a discussion, gather opinions from everyone who will be using or benefiting from this software, and consider all perspectives before moving forward.
Be Ready to Switch
Data migration can be messy and complicated. If you decide to switch software tools in the future, or if this software stops serving your needs, you need to be prepared for a potential switch. Is there a straightforward way to pull your data from this platform and integrate it elsewhere in the future?
Choosing software tools isn’t exactly fun, and the best decision isn’t always obvious. But if you can follow these standards, and research your decisions carefully, you’ll end up with a much better suite of software tools at your disposal.