Technology is the bane of every thriving business, and its importance cannot be underplayed. But how do you decide what software that suits your enterprise? Everyone wants to use the best software for their work. Whether a chef or a web designer, well-made tools make your job easier and more enjoyable.
A good tech stack will lay the groundwork for future success, increasing your agility and efficiency as you scale and work toward your business objectives. An insufficient tech stack will waste valuable time and money while preventing you from achieving your development and growth goals.
There are more options than ever before for a productive field-to-finish solution, an office tool for point cloud processing, or another software package. How can you be certain that you’re selecting the right software for your application?
However, how do you select the best software?
Determine your business needs for Software
Tools can be distracting; the primary focus of a business should be on developing, selling, and promoting its core product. When it comes to software, there is no perfect one-size-fits-all solution. Fully automated point cloud processing is a nice idea, and having a single software package that supports all equipment regardless of age is quite unrealistic. Every software package has trade-offs, and in some cases, you may need multiple solutions from different software developers to meet your needs. In this case, you may want to ensure that these software systems can communicate with one another, which can be a simple add-on to most software solutions or something more complicated.
If the situation is more complicated, please contact industry colleagues who are dealing with similar issues or, if applicable, the software supplier. Keeping all of this in mind, prioritise your company’s needs by identifying the most important features as either essential, conditional, or nice-to-haves. Determine which areas of your business processes could benefit from new software.
You won’t be able to find the software you’re looking for unless you know what you’re looking for! Identify your criteria and know what you want. You must understand your pain points, the problems that the new software solution is solving, and the value of the solution, which you must quantify in terms of time, money, or benefits to the organisation.
The following are critical requirements to document:
- Functional requirements – what does the software need to do? At this stage, it is easy to take things for granted, so take your time and list everything.
- Usability specifications – “ease of use.” Consider your team’s skill set carefully and honestly. Are they familiar with command-line tools? Do they navigate with keyboard shortcuts or are they mousers? These criteria are difficult to articulate, but keep them in mind! Preferences in technology Do you want a cloud-based or on-premises system? Mac or Windows? Should the data be stored in SQL Server or Oracle? You get the picture.
- Budgetary constraints – What can you afford to pay, and how valuable is the system to your company? At what cost will the system actually save you money, i.e. provide a Return on Investment (ROI)?
- Requirements for reporting – Will you require system reports? If so, what should be included? Should these be emailed to you, or should they be presented as dashboards?
- Scalability – What are your current volume levels? Do you anticipate an increase in these volumes over the next two to five years?
- Customizability/flexibility – Out-of-the-box software products serve many customers well, but they may not precisely meet your current or future needs. Platforms with more customizability and flexibility are preferred.
- Security – If you work with sensitive data (as most businesses do), you must use software designed with security in mind. There should be multiple layers of security in place, as well as plenty of settings to tightly control access.
- Vendor specifications – Make a note of any requirements from the supplier. This could include the vendor’s future development roadmap, current user volumes, and years in business, or support response times.
Invest in Automating Processes
Make it your goal to automate as much as possible because it will save you money in the long run. Automation speeds up processes, reduces the possibility of human error, and frees up employee time for critical thinking tasks.
Evaluate Your Options
Investigate all options thoroughly. To avoid regretting a hasty decision that may result in licence subscriptions expiring, conduct this research well in advance. Inform your peers about the software used by other companies in your industry. Read reviews and spend some time understanding how the application works before making any investment.
By thoroughly evaluating them, you will have a better understanding of the available options and will be able to justify your choice against others. This will give you more assurance when selecting software for your company. It will increase your chances of making the correct decision while decreasing your chances of changing your mind.
Seek the assistance of experts
Schedule meetings with the top three software companies in your spotlight to solve a specific problem. This usually leads to the discovery that there are more solutions to your conundrum than you initially assumed. Request a platform demo to assess the cost and functionality of their tools, as well as whether they are a good fit for your business vertical.
If software is complicated, your employees may be unable to run it. So, before purchasing the software, test it out. You can also request a demo version from a vendor. Inquire with your employees about the software. If they say yes, go ahead and buy it. Some software may not be compatible with your computer. So, before purchasing the software, test it on your machines.
Suitability in the future
You should also consider whether this software will still be appropriate as your company grows. For example, if your customer base grows, the system should be able to handle an increased workload.
Requesting demos for the software options on your shortlist
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential software, the next step is to request a software demo. Demos are an excellent way to experiment with the software and work through real-world scenarios that you may encounter in your business.
When speaking with a consultant, make sure they provide concrete examples of how their software meets your needs, and try to validate it through your own testing to see how it would perform in real-world scenarios.
Investigating custom software solutions
Now that you’ve completed the following steps:
- Understanding and documenting the solution’s requirements
- Examining all off-the-shelf software options on the market
- Demos from your shortlist are being requested and tested.
- Considering how these solutions meet your needs and the cost-benefits of modifying them to meet your needs
You are now in a position to evaluate your options for developing custom software. That’s because you’ve already crunched the numbers for the alternatives, giving you a great starting point for determining whether developing custom software is a more viable option.
Purchasing or subscribing to new software products may appear to always improve your business fundamentals, but this isn’t always the case. If you get bogged down with too many apps and services, it will make operations more confusing for your staff, reduce consistency, and drain your budget. Instead, keep your systems as simple and straightforward as possible while still obtaining all the services you require.
You won’t find or implement the ideal software suite for your company overnight. It will take weeks, if not months, of research, free trials, and internal tests. Be patient, and don’t be afraid to cut your losses on products that aren’t performing as expected.
Do you require assistance? Hidden Brains can assist you at any stage of the software selection process. We have decades of experience and knowledge helping businesses just like yours, so we can point you in the right direction of either software selection or creation.
Contact a hidden brains expert today by emailing [email protected].