No matter what specific type of software you are looking for, you probably have quite the selection from which to choose. While all your options offer the same basic functions, they are many differences, big and small, between each program and the vendor providing it. Here are just a few important things to keep in mind that will help you choose a software vendor with confidence.
What Do You Really Need?
This may sound like an obvious consideration, but one that may not be given the full thought required. Sure, you have a general idea of what you need, whether it be software for accounting, project management or network security, but that is just the surface.
What exactly do you want to accomplish with the software? What sorts of features are absolutely necessary, which ones would be nice but not required and which ones don’t matter at all? What sort of support do you want access to? Get input from the people who will be using the software. What do the stakeholders require? What are your goals?
For example, if you are selecting practice management software for your medical office, how many different functions do you want one program to be able to perform?
When you have a firm understanding of your needs, you will not spend unnecessarily on bells and whistles you don’t really need, nor will you end up with something that fails to meet your needs.
Certificates and Credentials
Not all software vendors are created equal when it comes to experience, training and overall know-how. What is their background? How long have they been in business? Are they on the upswing or downsizing? What sort of partner certifications do they have that are relevant to the solution for which you are currently looking? How aggressively are they pursuing product and solutions development?
Checking with Current Clients
Just like the purchase of any other product, getting in touch with current clients should be a primary component of your search. This is one of the most common tips, and also one of the most commonly ignored for some reason. But, you just don’t want to check with any client. You want to speak with those in your industry that are of a similar size, and have similar needs and challenges. This will give you the best idea of whether this vendor and particular solution is right for your business.
When considering a vendor, you don’t just want to consider your immediate needs, but what you may need down the line as your business grows, products and services expand, and new markets are tapped. Can this software grow with your business and adequately meet your future needs? How much can it be customized for your business? You don’t want to find yourself having to start your search, and invest all over again, just a couple of years down the road.
Have a Full Understanding of Fees
It is likely cost is a major factor in your decision-making process and understandably so. Make sure you have a full understanding of the cost. Review contracts carefully for any hidden costs, such as extra charges for in-person training, managing documents or specialized support.
While you have a lot to consider, and this may make it seem difficult to make a decision, doing your homework and taking your time, will make the process much easier.