Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Selecting the right software for your business is a difficult process. Regardless of whether it is a new ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning, typically referred to for integrated back office to operations platforms), a shipping logistics software, a payroll time clock, or any software for your business, it is important to find the right fit your organization.
When vetting different software choices, an organization should ask the following questions:
1. What are your goals with this software?
It is important to identify concrete goals you have from implementing this software. Communicating this to a software company to confirm how the software will meet those goals will help you have appropriate expectations.
Deciding the goals is only the first step. Next, you must identify how you are going to measure those goals. Merely feeling that something is better, smoother, or faster is subjective. Make sure to set measurable goals that you and the software company agree on for how you both can gauge the success of the goals set.
2. What is the skill level of your employees that will be using the software?
Not all employees are created equal. Some employees are great at learning new skills, adapting to change, and cheerleading a process, while others will struggle to learn new skills, dislike change, and resist it when possible.
Understand that just because your team works on a computer all day does not mean they are computer savvy. Employees of all ages can struggle to utilize and navigate business applications, depending on their exposure to those applications and their experience. Make sure to speak with team members on how comfortable they are with business applications such as Outlook, Word, and Excel. This often will be an indicator of how flexible and ready they are to learn other business applications.
Understand that just because your team works on a computer all day does not mean they are computer savvy.
If you have team members struggling, it doesn’t mean your organization is locked in to never changing software or that you have to hire new people to get new software. It means you might need to tailor training and introduction to new processes differently with different employees. Find a method of assigning a training buddy with someone struggling, giving extra time in introducing new methods, and setting aside more dedicated time to assist people in learning. Time spent in helping improve existing employees is still a cheaper investment than hiring new employees and it will help that employee feel less anxious and more valued by the change.
Make sure to communicate concerns to the software vendor; they do not know your people as well as you do. Ensure the time needed is either budgeted internally or externally with the software vendor and built into the implementation plan.
3. What are your expectations?
Unfortunately, business application software is complicated because business can be complicated. There are very few business software applications that are as simple as an easy button. Meaning, it will take effort on your side and from the software vendor to achieve your goals.
When you shop for a car, they all have four wheels and drive down the road, but your budget can determine a big difference in the handling, the amenities, the speed, and the feel of the ride. Software is very similar. Set your expectations realistic to your budget.
Today, with apps that can do almost anything we want, we often get caught up in the excitement to customize the software to our needs. This can easily escalate the implementation of a software application out of our original budget and/or timeline and cause additional complexities.
Make sure to communicate expectations to your software vendor and make sure you feel the expectations are realistic to your budget, your goals, and the resources available. Don’t assume a software can meet your expectations if you have not seen it demonstrated or communicated your expectation directly to the software vendor. Don’t expect a Honda Civic to become a Porsche.
When vetting a software vendor, it is important to understand the functionality of the software they are presenting and the partnership that will develop. If you feel red flags during the sales process, trust your gut and look at more information about the company, checking references and track records. Think of more than the software's immediate functionality, but how does the process look during implementation and afterward for support.
From supply chain management to accounting and sales needs, Infuzion® brings together industry-specific software solutions with the power of Microsoft technology.
Infuzion's ERP software solutions and services are used by small and medium-sized enterprises across a wide variety of industries, including wholesale, distribution, healthcare, higher education, and professional services. Their solutions help maximize software investments while improving staff productivity and company profitability.
Infuzion Solutions is a certified Microsoft Dynamics GP partner and a small business specialist. Infuzion not only assists small to middle-sized enterprises in implementing new administration and accounting software but consults with those wishing to improve their business processes.