- The right software can do a lot for your business, but you need to make your choice wisely.
Technology is the cornerstone of many businesses. In 2021, global businesses and consumers spent over $5 trillion on technology solutions.
You are always going to encounter a variety of challenges when running a small business. Fortunately, technology can help. Whether as a startup or a long-existing company, there will be a time your business will need to implement new software to handle certain problems.
Even if the company has been deploying different technologies for many years, there might be a need to find more sophisticated software to replace the current ones.
This can be a daunting task as there are usually multiple options in the market. A wrong choice would be tantamount to a waste of money and time.
Even if you will be hiring a company that offers software consulting services to make the process seamless, it is important to understand how to choose and implement the best business software for your company.
Choosing a wrong software is worse than using no software. It can lead to a massive loss in a company’s revenue.
For instance, in 2000, sportswear manufacturer, Nike, lost $100 million in sales while its stock price depreciated by 20 percent; all due to a glitch in the supply chain software deployed by the company.
First, you must identify and understand the problem you intend the business software to solve.
Also, decide whether you want the software to be standalone or would prefer it to be used with another software.
Some software allows integration of another such that you can access them all from one place.
You should involve your team at this stage. If not all of the company’s staff, engage at least the major people that would be using the software.
A one-on-one discussion with them will help you understand the full scope of the problem and probably the challenges they are likely to encounter during the software implementation.
After determining why you need the software, the next step is to document the problems.
It is not enough to just discuss the problems with your team, it is recommended you have them documented.
Make a list of all the problems along with the best and expected solutions for each one of them.
This will help you set goals and objectives for the software. Another thing to consider is the currently available facility in the organization and the assigned budget.
The software can be cloud-based or on-premises. Cloud-based is best suited if you operate a hybrid work environment or would prefer the usability of the software by staff from anywhere.
For software that is expected only to be used when at the office, on-premise software may be all you need.
There may also be a need to purchase and install certain equipment for the effective deployment of the software. All of these need to be considered.
Once you detect the problems and ascertain the kind of solutions you expect, start researching available software in the market that fits your budget.
While doing this, consider the following:
- Scalability: The software should be able to accommodate the future expansion of your company.
- Current users volume: If a lot of people are deploying a certain software, then it must be delivering as expected. Only consider software with considerable user volume.
- Developer’s requirement: Check the developer’s requirement to ensure your company has all it takes to deploy the software successfully.
- Publisher’s reputation: The reputation of the software publisher is also essential. You do not want to install any software that will suffer glitches from time to time.
- Availability of support: Since the software would be new to your staff, it is important to only settle for the one that you can easily reach its developer. You will need all the help you can get to implement the new software successfully.
- Features: Shortlist software with features that can solve most, if not all of the problems you need to solve. Compare these features and choose the one with the most features and most compatible with your company’s facility and mode of operation.
About 68 percent of workers face at least one challenge concerning the software they use.
This is why it is important to implement the new software correctly.
Depending on your need, some software allows a free trial. Before committing to any software on your shortlist, take advantage of their free trial version.
Observe the performance and ask your staff if they face any difficulties during its use.
If the issues cannot be resolved or you will need to spend more to fix them, then you may want to give others a try.
New software may make your employees’ lives easier. But that would be impossible if they do not know how to maximally use its functionality.
Prepare their mind for possible difficulties they might encounter during the software implementation.
Offer them the necessary training and tell them about things the software cannot do.
For example, accounting software may make the compilation of different data easier but would not eliminate transposition errors like entering 1056 for 1560. This is the responsibility of the staff.
Start monitoring the impact of the software on your company’s productivity once it is deployed.
Remember, it was implemented to solve certain problems; hence it needs to deliver to be considered a worthy investment.
If it is not delivering as expected, you may want to discuss with your team. Sometimes, team members may like the functionality of the software but encounter problems while navigating its interface.