Everything You Need To Know About …New Business Software #2
So, you know you need new business software. What now?
The answer is that you need to start researching software solutions so you can create a short list of preferred options. Start by identifying what you need. Ask yourself the following:
- What sector do I operate within and which sectors do I service?
- What will my software have to do?
- What are my growth plans?
- When do I need to implement?
- Who will be using the software within my organisation?
- Why am I getting the software?
- How can I absorb the implementation into my time?
- Where will the software be located?
- What’s my budget?
On the basis of these answers you can start to pick your shortlist of – I would suggest no more than 3 – software options. Here are some musings to help you with your selection process.
- Some software providers cater for a specific sector such as EZ Builder for construction or FutureProof for advertising sales. Other software offer verticalisations. NetSuite have verticals for wholesale distribution, retail, professional services, manufacturing and software for example. The former is usually less easy to adapt or scale but could still be the right solution for you. Consider adding both types to your shortlist
- BUT make sure that any software you add has the capability to handle all your requirements. As well as identifying early on what those should be, ask any implementation partners for their advice on other areas of functionality you may not have already tapped into. Make use of their software expertise to help you with your selection
- Make sure the software you select can expand with your business. You can lock down any functionality you don’t want to use, but it can be comforting to know it is there if your business grows or changes. For example, you may just need financial software at the moment but it would be good to be able to unlock CRM functionality further down the line.
- If you need to get a solution pronto then consider something out the box or something which comes with a short implementation time. Don’t be tempted to customise the crap out of a solution if you have an urgent need. Customisation can come later if needs be. Some cloud based software, such as SAP ByD can be very swift to implement and comes with over 40 standard end to end business processes out the box
- Your software is only going to be as good as the people using it. People are at the pinnacle of success for any software project so think about things like user adoption. Ease of use and exciting user interfaces generally help with adoption.
- Likewise, consider how much man power you will have to expend when implementing the software. You may be faced with a toss-up between getting some free software out the box which cannot be customised or getting something more sophisticated but compromising on staff availability for the duration of the implementation. Weigh up the options and make the best decision you can under the circumstances. What will have the biggest impact
- Where will your software be? If hosted or on premise, do you have the bandwidth, hardware and key personnel to cope? Will people be accessing the software from remote locations or outwith standard office hours? If so, perhaps a vpn line won’t cut it and you’d be best placed to consider cloud
- When thinking about budget remember to consider implementation costs as well as the software costs. Software as a Service can be a great way to keep control of budgets and to ensure that you are always running off a version of the software that is fresh as a daisy. It’s becoming the preferred option these days
So, you’ve done your homework and decided on the 3 (or so) software solutions which match your needs. Next blog I will help you go to market with your RFI and make good partner selections. You can also read part 1 of this series “How Do I Know I Need New Software?”
Written by Emma Stewart – Sales & Marketing Director at Cofficient
We provision NetSuite and SAP Business ByDesign – but are happy to talk to you about anything from Software as a Service to good implementation techniques to the best dressing for a Chicken Caesar salad.