Selecting enterprise software is one of the decisions businesses make that has far reaching impact. The options can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to even find a place to start. Here are six guiding questions you should ask when selecting the best enterprise software for your team.
What problem are we trying to solve?
Take some time at the very beginning of your software search to gather information about what your teams need and what’s missing from your current process or capabilities. Get clarity about the problems that need solving and get specific answers about whether the software can address them. Is it going to make you more efficient and save time or money? Will it free up time or capacity for your teams to do more for your business? For example, accounting software that automates billing can mean fewer errors. Software that can function well in multiple locations, can streamline compliance reporting.
Are we asking the right people for input?
Getting the right people involved in the decision-making process is crucial to picking the right software for your organization. It might seem obvious, but the people who will actually be using the software on a regular basis are the best staff to evaluate if their problems and needs will be addressed. The bottom line is: will it make their jobs better and easier?
Asking the right people is important, but don’t let input bog your process down. Too many decisionmakers can delay decisions and deliver contradictory reports of what is useful. Be judicious in choosing who gets to weigh in.
Is this going to be easy to install, implement, and integrate?
Certain software might look great during the demo, but your team needs to ensure that those attributes translate into the reality of your processes.
The best, most useful software in the world will fail to get off the ground for your organization if it’s too difficult to get the process started. Software needs to be easy not just on your users, but on the IT team responsible for rolling it out. A software solution that’s difficult to implement or understand will interfere not just with successful implementation, but also with your IT team’s ability to address other issues that inevitably occur.
When vetting any software, it’s important to ask about the implementation process. What kind of resources or training are provided? Are they comprehensive, or basic? And are the costs for those resources included in the implementation? Will your data transfer or migrate easily? Is the transition from the old system to the new one is within an acceptable time frame?
What happens after the initial installation period?
Some software companies pour resources into their sales and implementation teams but don’t put the same resources into helping their customers after the installation phase is over. When selecting your software company, get as much information as possible about what help is available if there’s an issue down the road. Some companies provide customer support free of charge while others charge fees for assistance.
Updates are another key area where customer support is crucial. How frequently are updates made? How are they implemented? Is retraining available for your team after an update is rolled out?
What value am I getting for the price?
Considering the budget when buying new software is important. Equally important is the potential risk in cutting corners for the sake of price. A security breach or lack of compliance due to weak protocols could cost your organization more time, resources or fines in the long run. For example, a manual inspection of an ID requires no separate investment than training staff, but the fines for allowing an underage or restricted individual into your business can be considerable.
Unhelpful or limited software can also cost your company in terms of employee productivity and efficiency.
What is the company’s reputation?
It’s smart to know who you’re doing business with on a macro level as well. If you’re considering buying software from an unfamiliar company, do some research to make sure their reputation is good. How to do this? Look on their website for testimonials from past customers, as well as case studies or use cases where they describe how they’ve helped a customer. You can also request to speak to an existing customer in a similar industry.
Along with reputation goes security, especially for cloud-based services. What steps are the company taking to make sure their cybersecurity measures are strong and your data is safe?
Bringing new software into your business can be both exciting and stressful. But approaching the decision thoughtfully can help ensure a smart choice and a smooth transition.