Selecting Software for your business
Selecting software may seem like a mundane task. We posit that it if it is done well, it will not only saver you time and money over time, but allow you to thrive!
Tip 1: People, Process, then Technology
Resist the temptation to select technology before involving your employees and documenting your process. Software should adhere to the way you run YOUR organization, not the other way around.
Read More: Part 1/10 – People, Process, then Technology
Tip 2: Industry Specific Software
“All of my competitors are using XYZ Software, we need to use it too!” While that software should be part of your evaluation list, make sure you look outside of your industry for software that will give you an advantage over your competitors.
Read More: Part 2/10 – Software Built for your Industry
Tip 3: Selecting software for a Function
This tip is a close cousin of Tip #4. It is ok to select software that is built well for a particular function, like Accounting – just make sure it has an API (Application Programming Interface) so you can get data in and out of it.
Read More: Part 3/10 – Software built for a Function
Tip 4: Selecting Software – All-in-one
The converse of Tip #3 is that you find software that “does it all”. Here’s the big tip: no software “does it all”, and even if it gets close, it cannot do it all WELL. If you go down this road with an ERP or other package, know where it’s weak and be open to considering function-specific options if necessary.
Read More: Part 4/10 – All-In-One Software
Tip 5: Selecting Software that Talks (Integrates)
We comment on this in Tip #3. This is REALLY IMPORTANT – make sure that ANY software you use has an Application Programming Interface (API) for you to get data in AND out of it.
Tip 6: Leveraging Free Trials
We’re guilty of it too – sign up for a free trial and don’t use it. With a well-planned suite of free trials on software you are considering, you can increase your chances of success. Judge your trials against the process work you did in Tip #1.
Read More: Part 6/10 – Managing Free Trials
Tip 7: Security
Today, we expect security from our software. Be sure to do reviews of the software and look for any history of data or security breaches in the past. MOST security, however, comes down to how you administer users and passwords – look for features like 2 Factor Authentication (2FA) to protect you and your data from theft.
Read More: Part 7/10 – Security
Tip 8: Reporting & Analytics
We cannot improve what we cannot measure. In Tip#1, make sure you and your team define what success will look like with the software you’re evaluating. Make sure you can get the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you need for success.
Read More: Part 8/10 – Reporting & Analytics
Tip 9: Data Ownership
Like Security in Tip #7, we expect the data that we put into software will remain ours. Double-check the fine print to fully understand who owns your data and HOW the platform will or won’t use your data for other purposes (like marketing).
Read More: Part 9/10 – Data Ownership
Tip 10: Data Transportability
Finally, not all software may fit your organization forever. While software migrations are not fun, if necessary, you want to make sure you can get data OUT of your software. This is obviously easier if you validate data export BEFORE you select software!
Read More: Part 10/10 – Data Transportability
Want to Learn More?
Yes, Plaidypus builds custom software and makes mobile apps, however, more than anything, we help organizations find the right software fit. Off-the-shelf software is part of that process. We are experts at process documentation and digital transformation for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. We promise we don’t bit – after all, Plaidypi don’t even have teeth.