Selecting the right line-of-business software for your organization is an important decision that can affect your productivity for years to come. Sam Card, CEO of Cards Technology, tells us the steps to take to help you choose the right apps for your business.
Why is it important to spend time researching new line-of-business software before you make a purchase?
Sam Card: Doing a competitive analysis will ensure that you end up with software that meets your needs. Start with a pros and cons list of the current software you want to replace. What do you like? What are your must-haves? For instance, if you use the automatic dialing feature of your current CRM, then that may be a deal-breaker if the software you’re considering doesn’t have that function.
If you aren’t replacing a current software, then base your pros and cons on the features you desire. Do you need to access the app remotely? Is the line-of-business software available in the cloud? It’s important to spend the time researching and to go through the pros and cons of the app. Figure out what’s important to you before you buy, or you may end up creating more problems.
What should you look for when evaluating new line-of-business software to ensure it will be the right fit for your business?
Sam Card: Make sure the software is compatible with your systems and will run on your devices. We recently worked with a business that used iPads but their new line-of-business software was a PC product, so they had to replace the iPads with Surfaces. It worked out fine for them because they had done their research and therefore planned for the replacement devices.
You also want to make sure your software contains a good reporting engine internally or has a robust dashboard system. Reporting, of course, is essential to making good business decisions, so this is a very important consideration.
Last, there needs to be a backup and recovery strategy for the line-of-business software. Don’t just assume because it’s in the cloud that your data is being adequately protected and backed up. Look at the software’s documentation about the backup process and timeframe. If the software doesn’t meet your backup criteria, it may not be a good fit – especially if you have to back it up yourself.
What are some common mistakes businesses owners make when choosing new software?
Sam Card: One common mistake is not making sure the software is compatible with your devices. The company above planned for their equipment change so they didn’t get any surprises. However, if you switch software and then find out it isn’t compatible with your computers or tablets, you have a costly, unplanned expense to replace equipment. Sometimes businesses switch to software that is problematic or difficult to learn so the vendor’s technical support is critical to adoption. I suggest that you call tech support for the app you are considering – before you buy it – to see how long you are on hold before getting to talk to someone. I like to call a couple of times before deciding to switch. Good companies have hold times on their websites.