Helpful article by Tech.co outlines top tips before purchasing software for your business
As far as we’re concerned, that includes cloud accounting software, which is creating some serious buzz at the moment.
The challenge is, purchasing anything for your business is not merely a ‘click and buy’ exercise. Often business owners have to invest considerable time researching the next upgrade, the best financing options, or weighing up the impact on cash flow.
Opting for the right solution is essential for the smooth operations and further growth of your business, so here are 5 dos and don’ts to help you find the best solution:
1. DON’T rush into custom designed softwareIt sounds exciting to have bespoke software designed and working exactly the way you want, especially if you have an affordable provider lined up. However, small to medium businesses can get a lot of mileage from off-the-shelf products. Before hiring software developers, can you be sure that the custom offering is as secure as a time-tested solution, that you’re not neglecting other areas of your business or that there is absolutely no other software catering to your needs?
2. DO invest in software that enhances business valueOne of the questions any business owner should ask is, “How will the business run without me”. Reliable, effective software (just like key employees) is an investment in your future. Business automation with well-chosen software can free you up to build business value by growing your customers, improving quality and driving profitability, rather than struggling to manage day-to-day issues, including sitting at the helm making any new software work correctly.
3. DON’T be frugal when it comes to choosing an appropriate operating system and frameworkTo stabilise and future proof your business operations, saving is not the best strategy. Yet some business owners still opt for an inferior setup to save a few (thousand) bucks. If you like a bargain, you can always request a bulk business price from your supplier and see what happens. Also consider offsite secure cloud server options which are maintained 24/7 by offsite crews, continually backed up and limit outages. These solutions may seem hefty at the outset but, in the long run, will drastically reduce maintenance costs and user frustration.
4. DO adopt a stepped approach to purchasing softwareA step-by-step approach reduces financial burden and stress when implementing a new software solution. With many software companies now offering part-payment terms for the acquisition of new software, it’s worth checking out with your supplier.
5. DO appoint in-house expertiseDo not fully rely on outside consultants to service and/or manage your software. The reality is you may not get timely support when you need it urgently. Before committing to a purchase, take time to test and understand the full functionality, its limitations and benefits. Choose tools that are sophisticated enough to allow customisation, yet are user-friendly enough to manage them in-house. And always go over your supplier’s service level agreement with a fine-tooth comb in advance of signing the dotted line.
One final adjunctThe purchasing of new or updated software does not end with the sale. You always need to build in a component of handover and beta testing, much like a probation period. Always seek expert advice to assist with the set up, implementation and subsequent staff training. With the added involvement of your supplier during initial implementation and roll out, they and you know that you’re keeping a keen eye on the successful integration of the product.
The pace of change in the small business technology space in recent years has been nothing short of phenomenal. Sparked by the possibilities of cloud-based technologies and fuelled by small business owners' desire to create efficiency and competitive advantage the breadth and depth of areas that can be accessed and the maturity of those offerings, is continuing to gather pace.