Choosing software are often overwhelming, but fear not. during this article, we’ll break down six steps you ought to follow to seek out the proper software and feel confident in your decision.
6 key steps for locating the proper software
Pinpoint your problem
Define your software requirements
Identify options and make your shortlist
Select your top choice
Get team buy-in
Purchase your new software
Step 1: Pinpoint your problem
The first step of the software-buying process involves deciding your needs and ensuring they’re aligned together with your business goals.
Ask yourself: What problem do i want to solve?
Identifying the matter helps you cut down the sort of software you would like . Start with a selected , business goal-driven issue, such as:
We need our employees to collaborate faster on projects.
We need to trace our inventory at multiple store locations more accurately.
We need to enhance our communication with customers.
If you’re unsure where to start out , here are some ways to spot your problems and the way they’re tied to your business goals:
Talk to your team to pinpoint current problems. Dig deep in conversation to seek out the underlying issue, not just the symptoms.
Evaluate your current software and discuss issues using it together with your team.
Ask others in your network and/or industry if they’re experiencing similar issues.
Step 2: Define your software requirements
There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of software products designed to deal with the matter you’re having. But that’s not enough. you would like software which will match your business’ specific needs.
Ask yourself: How can we want to use this software?
Knowing what you would like to urge out of the software you employ will assist you meet up with to the proper choice for your business. Here are some requirements to consider:
Features (all the items you would like it to do)
Number of users (if you would like separate accounts for every user)
Ease of use (how easy it’ll be for your team to use)
Integrations (how it interacts with other software you use)
Growth potential (how well the software will meet future needs)
Pricing (how much you’re willing to spend on the software)
Don’t stop at answering this question, though. usher in additional information to refine your requirements by visiting Capterra’s software directories to browse in-depth user reviews from people such as you . You’ll see what features similar companies see as must-haves.
Our research shows that starting with user review websites and software directories saves time, compared to Googling.
In a 2018 survey of small and midsize businesses, respondents who first accessed reviews and directories spent a mean of twenty-two months on their entire software buying journey, five months shorter than those that started with generic web searches and social media (27 months).
To build confidence in your requirements, talk together with your team to ascertain what users will really need . you’ll also check out one or two leading software companies and see what extra features they provide . Compare those to other software you’re considering to ascertain which features you can’t do without and which are nice bonuses.
Step 3: Identify options and make your shortlist
The next step in your software search involves creating an exhaustive list of all the solutions that meet your needs. Searching Capterra for your software category may be a excellent spot to start out .
After creating a comprehensive software list, it’s time to narrow it right down to a manageable shortlist of realistic options. Ideally, that list should have three to seven products on it—any quite that and therefore the selection process risks becoming too long and sophisticated .
Ask yourself: Does this software solution got to get on my shortlist?
To answer this question, start comparing the software on your list against the wants you laid call at step two, taking care to guage the following:
Does the merchandise solve your key problem and support your business goals?
Does the merchandise meet your feature requirements?
How user-friendly is that the solution?
Does the merchandise work (integrate) with the software you employ now?
Does the merchandise have good user reviews?
Is the product within your budget?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you ought to find that the majority of the solutions on your initial long list are often removed. To further reduce your list, use Capterra’s filtering tool and user reviews.
The filter tool (found on specific software category pages) allows you to to whittle away your results by popular features, pricing options, and more. User reviews (found on specific software package pages) will offer you overall ratings, also as ratings for simple use, customer service, overall value, and features.
You can also see the industry and business size of reviewers. A product could be good on paper, but you would like to form sure people such as you actually enjoy using it.
Step 4: Select your top choice
You’ve done tons of research by now , and are able to make a final selection from your shortlist. To feel fully confident in your decision, here are some some last checks to make certain you’re picking the proper software for your business.
Ask yourself: Do I trust this company with my business?
Your relationship with the software vendor are going to be a partnership. Here are some ways to built that trust:
Read user reviews on Capterra from current customers that have needs almost like yours. Create an inventory of questions for vendors supported any concerns you’ve got after reading the reviews.
Reach bent vendors, schedule demos, and ask questions. Seeing software capabilities up close allows you to form more meaningful comparisons.
Contact the vendors on your list to work out final pricing and repair levels, also as any training and onboarding materials. Different software companies provide varying levels of service after your purchase, so if you would like something hands-on, ask the seller before time.
After completing these checks, you ought to feel even more confident in your selection. subsequent step is ensuring your team shares this confidence.
Step 5: Get team buy-in
Before you buy new software, you would like buy-in from others on your team. Not everyone will have spent the maximum amount time on software research as you, so share your findings and allow them to skills you received your final choice.
Ask yourself: Who will this decision affect?
Include anyone who are going to be suffering from the software change in presentations and discussions. that would include:
Team members who will use the new software
Those responsible of the software budget
Executives who will log off on the software purchase
IT personnel who will implement the new software
Management who are going to be liable for driving the change
Share your research and selection reasons, and leave many time for feedback. Once those suffering from the change (and those responsible of the software budget) are on board, you’ll be able to purchase.
Step 6: Purchase your new software
This final step is that the most straightforward, but there are a couple of things to remember of before you check in the line and send that first official payment:
Make sure you’ve communicated with the seller before time about the terms of your contract.
Ask about any discounts your business might qualify for (e.g., if you’re employed for a nonprofit).
Discuss payment plans, and ask about discounts for paying annually rather than monthly.
Discuss what the software vendor are going to be liable for post-purchase (this could include onboarding and staff training, customer service availability, and access to future software updates).
If paying on a monthly or other recurring schedule, work with finance internally to form sure the budget are going to be available when needed.
Once you’ve officially bought a software package, pat yourself on the rear for your diligence , and feel confident that you’ve made the proper software choice for your business because you took the time to urge the buying process right. It’s time to celebrate the greater efficiency and other benefits to return from your new software.
Looking for more software resources? Start here:
The Most Valuable Software Features for little Businesses and Startups
How to Choose the proper Software for Your Business by Using Review Sites
A Superhero’s Guide to creating the Case for Software Purchases
The Software Your Business Can’t Live Without
5 Technology Innovations which will Change How you are doing Business